Shock as Kerry drop the Gooch
IT'S either confirmation of Kerry's wealth of options or an early-summer sign that the All-Ireland champions are less than settled as they face into Sunday's Munster SFC final against the old enemy.
Either way, Éamonn Fitzmaurice has dropped a minor bombshell by omitting Colm Cooper from his starting line-up for the Killarney showdown with Cork - one of five changes from the team that overcame Tipperary three weeks ago.
The iconic 'Gooch' made his championship return against Tipp following a lengthy cruciate ligament lay-off, scoring three points, but he now drops to the bench.
There are changes in all lines of the field, except half-back, where Jonathan Lyne retains his place despite the return to fitness of All Star Paul Murphy.
Fionn Fitzgerald replaces Mark Griffin in the full-back line; fit-again All Star midfielder David Moran comes in for Anthony Maher; Stephen O'Brien and Donnchadh Walsh replace Michael Geaney and Cooper in the half-forward line; while current Footballer of the Year James O'Donoghue is back to fitness and back on the team, taking Paul Geaney's corner-forward berth.
Cooper, Murphy and Maher apart, the Kerry bench now includes such decorated names as Darran O’Sullivan, Aidan O’Mahony and Tommy Walsh.
Cork boss Brian Cuthbert has made two changes, with former dual star Eoin Cadogan and Fintan Goold replacing Conor Dorman and Conor O'Driscoll.
KERRY (SFC v Cork): B Kealy; F Fitzgerald, M Ó Sé, S Enright; J Lyne, P Crowley, K Young; D Moran, B Sheehan; S O’Brien, J Buckley, D Walsh; BJ Keane, K Donaghy, J O‘Donoghue.
CORK (SFC v Kerry): K O’Halloran; M Shields, E Cadogan, J Loughrey; Barry O’Driscoll, Brian O’Driscoll, S Cronin; A O’Connor, F Goold; P Kerrigan, D O’Connor, K O’Driscoll; C O’Neill, M Collins, B Hurley.
OFFALY (SFC v Kildare): A Mulhall; B Darby, P McConway, C Donohue; N Darby, J Moloney, J O’Connor; C McNamee, N Smith; P Cunningham, G Guilfoyle, A Sullivan; B Allen, N Dunne, W Mulhall.
OFFALY (SHC v Clare): J Dempsey; N Wynne, D Shortt, D King; E Murphy, C Egan, P Camon; E Nolan, S Ryan; J Mulrooney, D Currams, P Murphy; S Dooley, J Bergin, B Carroll.