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Friday 15 December 2017

Dubs will give their all - Ryan

O'Dwyer says Daly's men are fully focussed for showdown

RYAN O'DWYER back from suspension. Henry Shefflin back for his first Kilkenny appearance of 2012 - and his 57th consecutive championship outing.

Those are the main talking points after Dublin boss Anthony Daly and his Black-and-Amber counterpart, Brian Cody, announced their respective line-ups for tomorrow's eagerly anticipated Leinster SHC semi-final in Portlaoise (throw-in 5.0).

O'Dwyer returns to the attack after missing Dublin's last two games - their relegation play-off replay against Galway and their opening provincial cakewalk against Laois.

The Tipp native's recall was widely expected, although there will be some surprise at the player making way - David Treacy, who scored 1-2 from play against Laois before coming off with a blood injury.

O'Dwyer has a point to prove after shipping three red cards in the past year, including a double-yellow dismissal against Kilkenny in a Nowlan Park goalfest last March. The player himself can't wait for the challenge.

Writing in his blog for the Vodafone Dub Hub (www.hill16.ie/thedubhub), O'Dwyer declares: "Playing Kilkenny is the easiest match to motivate yourself for because if you can't get yourself right for a team that has won so much and set such a high standard, then you've no place in intercounty hurling."

He goes on: "Playing in Portlaoise will suit Kilkenny because it is very like Nowlan Park and can be a tight field. But the mantra from Anthony Daly all along has been about Dublin worrying first and foremost about Dublin and concerning ourselves with how we do. It's too easy to get side-tracked into what the opposition will do and this is especially true when you are preparing to meet Kilkenny and all those reputations.

"But you really have to control yourself to have any hope of controlling them, and we have been taking things step by step this week.

"Saturday is about Dublin hurling being the best we can be and giving everything - and hopefully that will be enough to get a result," O'Dwyer concludes.

Among the players he will face tomorrow is Shefflin, who has been sidelined all year after shoulder surgery but now returns to maintain his incredible record of never missing a championship match since making his SHC debut against Laois in 1999.

The Ballyhale Shamrocks man is named at wing-forward, while Dublin's task has been rendered even more daunting after Shefflin's heir apparent, Richie Power, recovered from his recent knee injury to be named at full-forward.

Cody's selection includes a raft of familiar names alongside a trio hoping to bed down permanent summer claims - Richie Doyle at wing-back, Cillian Buckley and Paddy Hogan at midfield (the latter replacing injured duo Michael Fennelly and Michael Rice, neither of whom is deemed fit enough for the bench).

Power's recall sees Matthew Ruth revert to the subs despite an impressive run of goalscoring form during Kilkenny's triumphant league campaign.

DUBLIN (SH v Kilkenny): G Maguire; N Corcoran, P Kelly,T Brady; S Hiney, J Boland, M Carton; J McCaffrey, S Durkin; C Keaney, D Sutcliffe, L Rushe; P Ryan, R O'Dwyer, C McCormack.

KILKENNY (SH): D Herity; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, R Doyle; C Buckley, P Hogan; H Shefflin, TJ Reid, E Larkin; C Fennelly, R Power, R Hogan.

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