Wednesday 20 November 2019

Murchan is poised

O'Sullivan battling just to take his place on bench

Eoin Murchan in action against Kerry in the drawn All-Ireland final
Eoin Murchan in action against Kerry in the drawn All-Ireland final

Jim Gavin will keep changes to a minimum for Saturday's All-Ireland SFC replay, with Eoin Murchan the likeliest to graduate from the bench into Dublin's starting line-up.

Cian O'Sullivan, who suffered another problem with his hamstrings in the days before the drawn final, may only be in a position to provide defensive cover.

Despite his value to the team in his role as a 'holding' centre-back for Dublin in their last four All-Ireland victories, the prospect of O'Sullivan starting and breaking down again represents a serious risk for Gavin.

The 31- year-old has been hindered by the problem to some degree since emerging as a Dublin senior in 2010.

Last year, O'Sullivan was substituted before half-time in both the All-Ireland semi-final and final, while he also played the 2015 final with a hamstring tear.

Such was the extent of the injury he suffered prior to the drawn game, O'Sullivan was unable to fully take part in the Dublin warm-up, despite being named as one of their designated substitutes. His absence was keenly felt two weeks back.

John Small, who suffered a hand injury last time out, is again set to take his place in the Dublin defence.

Murchan had a positive impact after coming on for Small in the 58th minute as a blood sub, so much so that Gavin resisted the temptation to bring the former back on.

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