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Monday 20 August 2018

O'Gara's late bid for starting spot

EOGHAN O’GARA is making a late run for inclusion in the Dublin team to face Kildare in this Sunday’s clash of the Croke Park titans.

Manager Pat Gilroy is already committed to making one defensive change for the Leinster SFC semi-final, with Paul Brogan favourite to replace injured corner-back Philly McMahon.

However, speculation is mounting that there could be a further alteration up front, with O’Gara pushing strongly for a recall at fullforward.

Such a move would entail breaking up Dulbin’s prolific full-forward division of Diarmuid Connolly and the Brogan brothers, with Alan Brogan favoured for relocation to the halfforwards. This inside trio shared 1-11 (1-9 from play) during the quarter-final against Laois.

A raw, rampaging talent, O’Gara established himself as a goalscoring target man during last year’s run to the All-Ireland semi-finals.

His game-time this season has been severely curtailed by a retrospective eight-week suspension (following a flashpoint during the league win over Kerry) and subsequent injury.

However, he replaced Kevin McManamon after 47 minutes of the Laois game and has emerged as a ‘live’ starting contender ahead of Friday’s 8am team announcement by Gilroy.

Meanwhile, Leinster Council chiefs have defended the rate of ticket sales for Sunday’s double-header, even though just 28,000 - excluding corporate and premium seats - had been sold by close of business yesterday.

“It’s on a par with where we were for these fixtures last year,” said chief executive Michael Delaney. Then, 60,035 saw the Dublin/Meath and Westmeath/Louth double-header.

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