Conlon pushing hard for place in Gilroy's defence
PAUL Conlon is set to play a shock starting role in Dublin's Leinster SFC semi-final showdown with Kildare on Sunday.
Conlon is making a surprise bid to squeeze his way onto Pat Gilroy's 8am team roll call tomorrow morning.
The St Vincent's defender is putting in a late push to man Dublin's vacant number two jersey for the Croke Park clash, which would be his first championship appearance.
Philly McMahon's enforced absence with a medial knee ligament injury has forced Gilroy into breaking up his full-back line trio of McMahon, Rory O'Carroll and Mick Fitzsimons. And while Paul Brogan appeared to be the front-runner to fill the void, Conlon is now tipped to step in.
One of the standout performers of St Vincent's All-Ireland club win of 2008, Conlon gained inter-county experience during the 2010 NFL Division 1 campaign, as Dublin management sought to totally revamp a defence which had been blown away by Kerry the previous summer.
He played no subsequent part in the championship and has yet to play a minute of competitive football for Dublin this season.
A groin injury kept him out of the initial stages of the league and a subsequent glitch in the rehabilitation process sidelined Conlon for the entirety of the competition.
He has, however, impressed in recent internal challenge matches and in the absence of McMahon, Gilroy is set to stick with his policy of selecting 'natural' inside defenders in his full-back line.