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Thursday 8 December 2016

McCarthy is in frame

Gavin names influential defender in Dublin team for Croker sell-out

Dublin defender James McCarthy. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin defender James McCarthy. Photo: Sportsfile

James McCarthy's fitness remains the subject of intense speculation in the capital ahead of this evening's All-Ireland quarter-final showdown with Donegal.

The influential Ballymun Kickhams defender was last night named in Jim Gavin's official XV, meaning McCarthy will wear his familiar number five jersey as Dublin do battle with the last team to beat them in the Championship.

However, the extent of his involvement will continue to be a major talking point right up until throw-in at 6.0.

Gavin this week declared McCarthy fit to play, though the Dublin manager also intimated that the injury which ruled him out of the Leinster final - thought to be a medial knee ligament strain - could be vulnerable to further damage.

Eric Lowndes, who deputised for McCarthy against Westmeath last time out, is also understood to have been nursing an injury in the build up to Dublin's first knock-out match of their All-Ireland title defence.

Gavin has again opted for Michael Darragh Macauley in midfield, having preferred Denis Bastick to the former Footballer of the Year earlier this summer.

This evening's double-header, which also features Tyrone and Mayo at 4.0, is now officially a sell-out and will thus attract by far the biggest crowd of the GAA summer to Croke Park.

DUBLIN (SF v Donegal): S Cluxton; P McMahon, J Cooper, D Byrne; J McCarthy, C O'Sullivan, J Small; MD Macauley, B Fenton; P Flynn, K McManamon, C Kilkenny; D Rock, D Connolly, B Brogan.

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