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Saturday 21 October 2017

Dub cubs need forwards to ignite to fell Offaly

DUBLIN will look to book a place in the Leinster MFC Final on Sunday week when they encounter Offaly in their semi-final clash at O'Connor Park, Tullamore this evening (7.30).

It has been almost nine weeks since the Dubs last tasted competitive action following their 0-15 to 0-12 win over Meath and they will need to hit the ground running against an Offaly side that has impressed in the championship to date.

Granted, their 7-30 to 0-2 win over Kilkenny was as one-sided as it was expected but the Faithful County showed some genuine form as they comprehensively accounted for a talented Westmeath in the last eight.

That 2-16 to 1-8 highlighted the attacking talent within their ranks with captain Ruairí McNamee chipping with 1-4 while Jack Walshe, Dylan Hyland and Paddy Dunican are others that will need watching .

A facet of that win was the contribution of centre-back Adam Mahon, who belied his centre-back position to land three points from play.

Despite finishing strongly to overcome Meath, Dublin manager Cyril Kevlihan has made five changes to his starting line-up.

Conor Kavanagh's omission will raise a few eyebrows given his potential as an attacking wing-back but he remains a hugely viable option from the bench.

Dublin's attack has failed to convince in successive wins over Longford and Meath and need to show a greater understanding to get over the line tonight.

The attack is sprinkled with individual talent in the shape of Colm Basquel, Con O'Callaghan, Chris Sallier and Warren Egan but their interplay has lacked cohesion.

How O'Callaghan and Eoghan McHugh recover from the disappointment of last Sunday's MHC Final loss to Kilkenny will also be instructive in a contest that should go right to the wire.

Home advantage is a huge plus for Offaly but a tentative vote is given to the visitors.

ELECTRIC IRELAND LEINSTER MFC SEMI-FINAL

OFFALY v DUBLIN

(Tullamore, Tonight, 7.30)

VERDICT: Dublin

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