O’Brien to start for Gavin’s Dubs
IT'S a case of someone old, someone new and someone borrowed for the Blues as Jim Gavin recalls several All-Ireland winners but also selects three Allianz League debutants for tomorrow night's Division One opener against Cork in Croke Park (7.0).
The ‘borrowed' motif applies to Tyrone native Paddy Quinn who, having soldiered with Na Fianna for the past five seasons, now earns his NFL stripes after featuring prominently during the O'Byrne Cup.
Jack McCaffrey was arguably the star turn of Dublin's O'Byrne campaign and the dashing wing-back is duly awarded with the No 7 jersey.
This will be his first league appearance, although the All-Ireland U21 winner from Clontarf did feature briefly off the bench last summer (against Laois) following his senior squad promotion.
The third debutant is Naomh Mearnóg defender Kevin O'Brien, who skippered Gavin's All-Ireland U21s to the summit last May and - like McCaffrey - was subsequently elevated to Pat Gilroy's championship panel.
O'Brien was otherwise engaged with DIT during the O'Byrne Cup, but is now parachuted straight into a revamped |full-back line, alongside Rory O'Carroll and Jonny Cooper.
Full-back O'Carroll (UCD) and All Star wing-forward Paul Flynn (DCU) were college-tied in January but now return in their customary roles, while Declan O'Mahony gets the nod to partner Michael Darragh Macauley at midfield in the absence of the suspended Denis Bastick.
Conor Counihan has selected many of his Rebel regulars for the trip to Croker, as Cork set out in search of a remarkable NFL four-in-a-row.
Eoin Cadogan and Damien Cahalane - who recently opted exclusively for the Cork footballers instead of the hurlers - are both selected in defence.
A crowd of between 30-35,000 is anticipated for tomorrow night’s double-header (Donegal v Kildare, 5.0).
DUBLIN (SF v Cork): S Cluxton; J Cooper, R O’Carroll, K O’Brien; D Daly, G Brennan, J McCaffrey; MD Macauley, D O’Mahony; P Flynn, P Andrews, P Quinn; K McManamon, D Connolly, B Brogan.
CORK (SF): K O’Halloran; E Cadogan, M Shields, J O’Sullivan; P Kissane, G Canty, D Cahalane; A O’Connor, A Walsh; F Goold, P O’Neill, C Sheehan; C O’Neill, D O’Connor, P Kerrigan.