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McGeeney rests Doyle as he checks options

KILDARE boss Kieran McGeeney has decided to 'rest' his workaholic hero, Johnny Doyle, for Sunday's Bord na Móna O'Byrne Cup semi-final trip to Offaly.

Doyle drops to the bench for the Tullamore clash, in one of five changes made by management from the team that started their final group game against Wexford.

He may be in mid-30s, but the Allenwood clubman gave a timely reminder of his enduring class with a virtuoso early season display against Wexford last weekend.

Doyle scored 0-7 (four from play) as the Lilywhites conceded an injury-time goal only to bounce back with an even later match-winning goal of their own.

That goal came from Morgan O'Flaherty, who is retained in his new half-forward role. But elsewhere McGeeney continues to tinker with his options ahead of Kildare's big league 'throw-in' against All-Ireland champions Donegal in Croke Park on February 2.

The five changes see Ollie Lyons return at corner-back in place of Eoin Doyle; Eoghan O'Flaherty recalled at wing-back for Peter Kelly; Pádraig O'Neill come in at midfield for Hugh Lynch; while Rob Kelly and Tomás O'Connor are named in the full-forward line at the expense of Johnny Doyle and Paddy Brophy.

The Kildare camp is reporting a few minor niggles, but nothing more serious, while Seánie Johnston may be fit for a place on the bench after the former Cavan star resumed training this week after a recent calf problem.

Meanwhile, opponents Offaly have named the starting 15 originally selected to face Westmeath last Sunday.

That means Matthew Mitchell and Anton O'Sullivan, who were omitted before throw-in but subsequently came off the bench during the first half, are now included from the start. The duo losing out are Paul McConway and Peter Cunningham.

KILDARE (SF v Offaly): S Connolly; O Lyons, M Foley, H McGrillen; E Bolton, M Conway, E O'Flaherty; G White, P O'Neill; B Flanagan, C McNally, M O'Flaherty; R Kelly, T O'Connor, D Flynn.

OFFALY (SF v Kildare): A Mulhall; B Darby, E Rigney, S Pender; D Hanlon, D Kelly, G Guilfoyle; A McNamee, R Dalton; R Brady, B Connor, E Carroll; M Mitchell, N McNamee, A Sullivan.

WEXFORD (SH v DIT): N Breen; A Kenny, T Waters, C Kenny; R Kehoe, A Shore, J Tonks; H Kehoe, E Doyle; PJ Nolan, S Murphy, G Moore; P Morris, M O'Regan, P Doran.

CORK (SH v UCC): A Nash; S O'Neill, S McDonnell, C Spillane; T Kenny, C Joyce, S White; D Kearney, P Cronin; B Corry, C McCarthy, S Moylan; P Horgan, M Cussen, P O'Sullivan.

WATERFORD (SF v Tipperary): S Enright; T Ó hUallacháin, S Prendergast, C Phelan; T Grey, S Briggs, R Cahill; T Prendergast, S Dempsey; C McGrath, P Whyte, M O'Gorman; J Wall, P Hurney, G Nugent.