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Friday 9 December 2016

Macauley in battle

Big midfield decision for Gavin ahead of huge showdown with Mayo

Dublin midfielder Michael Darragh Macauley Pic: Caroline Quinn
Dublin midfielder Michael Darragh Macauley Pic: Caroline Quinn

Jim Gavin's most pressing selection decision of this All-Ireland semi-final week surrounds whether or not to recall Michael Darragh Macauley to his starting midfield for Sunday's clash with Mayo.

The 2013 Footballer of the Year was dropped for the quarter-final win over Fermanagh due mainly an inability to relocate his best form after a sequence of niggling injuries this year.

"I think every player, if he's not getting game time, is disappointed," Gavin offered when asked about Macauley's reaction to being left out, though the Ballyboden man did appear as a half-time substitute for Denis Bastick.

He qualified the statement by adding: "Sometimes the team that finishes is more important than the team that starts. We pick the team on merit and players who are playing well."

With the fledging Brian Fenton enjoying a rich run of form, Gavin must now decide which of he, Macauley or Bastick is left out when he names his starting team on Friday night.

Otherwise, Dublin may well start as they began against Fermanagh, with Paddy Andrews expected to hold his spot in attack ahead of the claims of the likes of Kevin McManamon, Alan Brogan and Cormac Costello.

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