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Tuesday 6 December 2016

One Change For Dublin

Gavin brings back McCarthy for Leinster Final with sales slow

Jim Gavin made one change for the Leinster final
Jim Gavin made one change for the Leinster final

LEINSTER Council chiefs are expecting an attendance dip for this year's provincial SFC decider, despite massive interest from Westmeath in their quest to topple the Sky Blue Goliath.

Dublin are as low as 1/500 with the bookies to lift the Delaney Cup for the fifth consecutive summer, which may explain why at least some of Jim Gavin's Hill 16 army could be biding their time for the All-Ireland series.

Even John Heslin has conceded that Dublin "blow teams away" - as Longford and Kildare can testify this summer - but the Westmeath talisman is hoping they can buck the trend.

"They didn't win the All-Ireland last year - but they are a great side and we're just going to go up and give it a lash, give it our best shot," Heslin ventured.

During the week, Westmeath GAA officials were speculating that between 15,000 and 20,000 supporters of Tom Cribbin's team would descend on Croke Park for tomorrow's 2pm showdown.

This doesn't quite tally with Leinster predictions yesterday of an attendance in the "high forties" … if that materialises, it would be the first since the Dublin/Wexford decider in 2011, watched by 43,983, that the Leinster final crowd dipped below 50,000. Last year's Dublin/Meath final attracted 62,660 punters.

Dublin last night announced a team showing one change from the '15' that crushed Kildare, with current All Star James McCarthy replacing John Small at wing-back. McCarthy, back from a toe injury, came off the bench for the injured Small during the Dubs' semi-final cakewalk.

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

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