herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Leinster counties need quick win or face grim spring

KERRY'S 'Twin Towers' of the late noughties may have been reunited at county training over the past fortnight, but Dublin will only face one of them from the start of Sunday's Allianz Football League showdown in Killarney.

That's because while new skipper Kieran Donaghy returns from club duty with Austin Stacks for his first appearance of 2015, there is no place in the starting team for Aussie Rules returnee Walsh.

Manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice has made two changes from the team that came away from Derry with a valuable two points. Anthony Maher makes his first start of the season at midfield, Walsh losing out, while Stacks' exit from the All-Ireland club race has facilitated Donaghy's inclusion at full-forward, Barry John Keane dropping to the bench.

During his first Kerry incarnation, Walsh burst onto the senior team in 2008 when he formed a literally colossal inside partnership with Donaghy - cue the 'Twin Towers' motif.

Dublin will announce their team tonight, but all remaining Division One counties have already revealed their weekend line-ups. Most notably, Mayo make five changes from the team that faltered badly against Tyrone for their clash with Monaghan, with recalls for 'keeper Robbie Hennelly, Tom Cunniffe, Séamus O'Shea and All Star Cillian O'Connor while Patrick Durcan replaces another All Star, Colm Boyle.

Joe McMahon remains part of Tyrone's squad despite reports that he had quit the squad, with the veteran continuing to work on a one-to-one basis with strength and conditioning coach Peter Donnelly. Dermot Carlin also remains part of the extended panel.

Tyrone are unchanged for tomorrow night's home encounter with Derry, whereas Meath make one change for Sunday's visit to Roscommon, Damien Carroll replacing Joey Wallace.

Marty Clarke has no chance of playing for Down this year as he continues medication for the energy-sapping Addison's Disease, which affectes the adrenal glands. Clarke, back from his second spell in Aussie Rules, revealed: "It looks like I'll just concentrate on the club this year and won't make it back with Down until next year."

KERRY (SF v Dublin): B Kealy; P Kilkenny, M Griffin, F Fitzgerald; J Lyne, J Sherwood, P Murphy; A Maher, D Moran; M Geaney, B Sheehan, J Buckley; S O'Brien, K Donaghy, P Geaney.

MAYO (SF v Monaghan): R Hennelly; T Cunniffe, K Keane, K Higgins; L Keegan, S Coen, P Durcan; D Vaughan, S O'Shea; K McLoughlin, A O'Shea, D O'Connor; M Ronaldson, C O'Connor, J Doherty.

MONAGHAN (SF): R Beggan; C Boyle, D Wylie, R Wylie; D Mone, F Kelly, K Duffy; N McAdam, P Finlay; K Hughes, S Gollogly, R McAnespie; D Malone, D McKenna, C McManus.

CORK (SF v Donegal): K O'Halloran; Tom Clancy, M Shields, J Loughrey; J O'Sullivan, E Cadogan, Tomás Clancy; F Goold, M Collins; C O'Driscoll, J O'Rourke, K O'Driscoll; C O'Neill, D O'Connor, B Hurley.

DONEGAL (SF): P Durcan; P McGrath, E McGee, E Doherty; F McGlynn, K Lacey, M McHugh; N Gallagher, C Toye; M O'Reilly, O MacNiallais, R McHugh; P McBrearty, M Murphy, H McFadden.

TYRONE (SF v Derry): N Morgan; A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron; R McNabb, Justin McMahon, P Harte; C Cavanagh, P McNulty; T McCann, M Donnelly, P Hughes; D McCurry, S Cavanagh (capt.), C McShane.

DERRY (SF): E McNicholl; O Duffy, N Holly, D McBride; B McAlary, K Johnston, SL McGoldrick; M Craig, B McGilligan; C Williams, B Heron, E Lynn; D McKinless, E Bradley, B McGoldrick.

MEATH (SF v Roscommon): P O'Rourke; D Tobin, C McGill, M Burke; D Dalton, D Keogan, B Menton; H Rooney, A Flanagan; G Reilly, P Harnan, A Tormey; D Carroll, S Bray, M Newman.

TIPPERARY (SF v Fermanagh): E Comerford; A Campbell, P Codd, A Morrissey; S Kennedy, P Acheson, R Kiely; C O'Riordan, S O'Brien; G Hannigan, B Grogan, P Austin; C Sweeney, M Quinlivan, I Fahy.

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