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Connolly could be kept on a Laois for quarter-final

DIARMUID CONNOLLY could be forced to bide his time before returning to the Dublin starting XV despite serving out his one-match suspension.

The St Vincent's attacker missed the Leinster final victory over Meath and could be thrust straight back into the Dublin forward line, an area where Pat Gilroy faces some tough calls this week.

However, Footballer of the Year Alan Brogan's fitness will continue to be monitored and though Gilroy stated that his playmaker would likely be available to start, the St Oliver Plunkett's/ER man is receiving treatment this week on the groin injury which forced him off in Croke Park a fortnight ago.

If Brogan does prove his fitness, Gilroy could stick with the same alignment which began against Meath, meaning Connolly would be forced to start on the bench alongside Eoghan O'Gara, who hugely impressed in his substitute cameo against the Royals.

Most likely, the same six defenders who got the nod for the Meath victory will re-selected, meaning no place again for vice-captain Ger Brennan, who was surprisingly dropped last time out.

It is further up the pitch, however, where Gilroy is weighing up his options.

Denis Bastick, Eamon Fennell and Michael Darragh Macauley were all chosen to play against Meath, with the latter lining out predominantly in a more advanced role than his customary midfield one.

Gilroy could, however, revert to picking two of the three to open up a spot in attack for either Connolly or O'Gara. Kevin McManamon, who was the first player to be taken off in the Leinster final after a suffocating afternoon on Meath defender Donal Keogan, is expected to hold on to his spot at corner-forward.

As yet, Ciarán Kilkenny remains the only one of the quartet of All-Ireland U21-winning brigade to taste senior action since their promotion to Gilroy's panel, although it is likely that he will press hard for game time from the bench on Saturday.

Laois, meanwhile, have no injury doubts for Saturday. Justin McNulty's men came through their own win over Meath unscathed and the Armagh man is unlikely to make any changes.