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Friday 20 September 2019

Murchan looks to be prime candidate to be a bolt from blue

Eoin Murchan
Eoin Murchan

Given that the man of the match in the last four All-Ireland senior final replays didn't start the drawn game, and in three cases didn't even feature, there could be a bolter or two in the Dublin and Kerry ranks ahead of Saturday's rematch.

There's a consensus that both counties need to do something different after hitting the post the first day and they would be in good company should a spanner be thrown into the works.

Three years ago, Mick Fitzsimons came on in the drawn final with Mayo - before being judged Dublin's best performer as back-to-back All-Ireland football titles were secured.

Fitzsimons was nearly pipped by team-mate Cormac Costello, who hadn't featured in the drawn encounter but came on in the 56th minute of the replay and kicked three crucial points from play.

Lightning could strike again this weekend and Jim Gavin and Peter Keane have plenty of options if they choose to spice things up.

Diarmuid Connolly

What a difference two months could make for Connolly after being turned back at Dublin Airport over a problem with his ESTA form and he could be the one to bring a spark in Dublin's attack.

While much talk has been of whether or not Bernard Brogan will make the match-day 26, Connolly could be thrown into the starting line-up, or sprung early, to upset Kerry's plans and give the Dubs something different up front.

What a turnaround it would be if the gifted 32-year-old St Vincent's forward was the difference on Saturday.

Eoin Murchan

A regular last season following a series of brilliant defensive displays, injury is the only reason why Murchan hasn't been a starter this year but the extra two weeks has afforded him another chance.

The Na Fianna dynamo replaced John Small as a blood substitute in the 58th minute of the drawn game but performed with aplomb and remained on the pitch until the end.

He looks likely to start with his blistering pace a massive asset in a full-back line which isn't blessed with speed while his ability to get available for short kick-outs and man mark could help tie down a dangerous Kerry attack which caused the Dubs all sorts of trouble the last day.

Philly McMahon

It was noticeable that in spite of the defensive woes which the Dubs went through in the first game, Gavin never turned to McMahon.

His vast experience could yet be key and the six-time All-Ireland winner may play a more prominent role, either from the start or off the bench, with the likely introduction of Tommy Walsh a possible task for the Ballymun Kickhams defender.

Tommy Walsh

The great debate is whether or not to start Walsh and if he were to be thrown in from the outset, it could force a massive Dublin re-jig.

Eleven years after winning his sole All-Ireland with the Kingdom and with an AFL career and some career-threatening injuries mixed in between, Walsh is still central to Kerry's plans and was inspirational off the bench the first day.

Killian Spillane

Spillane lit up the drawn game after his second-half introduction with the Templenoe flyer looking totally at home on the game's biggest occasion.

His goal was the catalyst for a Kerry comeback and Keane will be tempted to see if he can work the oracle from the start with his pace another potential threat for Dublin.

Jack Sherwood

Gavin White and Brian Ó Beaglaoich are the most likely to lose out if changes are made and having recalled him after an inter-county exile under Eamonn Fitzmaurice, Keane may opt for Sherwood.

The Firies clubman has made a big impact off the bench in their last two games and his versatility means that he can slot in anywhere from the full-back-line to midfield.

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