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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Return of the Gooch

Fitzmaurice picks Cooper in Kerry attack ahead of O'Sullivan for semi

Dublin’s Bernard Brogan and Kerry’s Colm Cooper embrace after last year’s All-Ireland SFC Final. Pic: Sportsfile
Dublin’s Bernard Brogan and Kerry’s Colm Cooper embrace after last year’s All-Ireland SFC Final. Pic: Sportsfile

Colm Cooper has been named on the official Kerry team to face Dublin in tomorrow's Croke Park showdown with the All-Ireland champs.

The return of the legendary 'Gooch' is Kerry's only touted change, but that hasn't quelled rampant speculation of further 11th hour selection manoeuvres by Éamonn Fitzmaurice.

While Jim Gavin has kept everyone guessing by delaying his Dublin team announcement for this eagerly anticipated All-Ireland SFC semi-final, the same could be said of his counterpart.

Fitzmaurice's exclusion of Darran O'Sullivan for the fit-again Cooper has raised quizzical eyebrows in the Kingdom, with many observers expressing doubt about O'Sullivan's omission - and the retention of several others.

The one caveat is Fitzmaurice is not in the habit of naming 'dummy' teams, so the guessing will continue until shortly before 3.30 at a full-house Croker.

As it stands, Kieran Donaghy has been selected at midfield instead of full-forward; Paul Murphy remains in the half-forwards instead of half-back; while free-taker Bryan Sheehan is on the bench - and not, quelle surprise, in goals.

Meanwhile, Dublin's team delay comes amid rumours of a Diarmuid Connolly injury scare, although the ace attacker is still expected to start.

In the event that James McCarthy has proven his match fitness, the 2014 All Star is likely to reclaim his wing-back berth with Ciarán Kilkenny reverting to half-forward.

KERRY (SFC v Dublin): B Kelly; S Enright, M Griffin, K Young; B Ó Beaglaoich, P Crowley, T Morley; K Donaghy, D Moran; P Murphy, C Cooper, D Walsh; S O'Brien, P Geaney, J O'Donoghue.

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