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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Rushe returns to lead Blues attack

THE Dublin hurlers have made one just personnel change for Sunday's crucial NHL encounter with Cork at Parnell Park (2.30), but the return of Liam Rushe has sparked a chain reaction of postional alterations.

Rushe has recovered from the dead leg that forced him to sit out last weekend's battling defeat to Kilkenny and so returns at centre-forward, indirectly replacing Ronan Fallon who started at full-back against the Cats.

As a consequence, Shane Durkin moves from the '40' to midfield, Maurice O'Brien goes from the engine room to left half-back, Joey Boland shifts across to centre-back, and his Na Fianna club-mate Tomás Brady reverts from No 6 to full-back.

In fairness to the Dublin selectors, the players only started in these original positions last weekend because of Rushe's absence and Brady had shifted to full-back within half an hour, after Fallon endured a few torrid minutes against Richie Power.

However, O'Brien now finds himself back in defence despite a four-point tour de force in his new midfield role. Dublin's reshaped defensive spine - namely Brady and Boland - can expect a searching examination as Cork boss Denis Walsh has named his two twin towers, with Aisake ó hAilpín named at centre-forward and Michael Cussen retained at full-forward after his 2-2 salvo against Waterford last weekend.

In other changes, Donal Og Cusack resumes between the posts having replaced Anthony Nash after 40 minutes of the Deise game. Eoin Cadogan is again named at full-back -- although it remains to be seen if he features, given that the dual ace was named on both Cork teams last weekend but didn't play for the hurlers.

ó hAilpín hat-trick hero

CARLTON'S Setanta ó hAilpín is being heralded as the "new Fevola" after his three-goal haul for the Blues in their round one win over Richmond at the MCG.

Brendan Fevola scored 89 goals for the club in 2009 and was picked on the All-Australian team but since his departure the Blues faithful have been concerned about how the club will fill the void in the forward line.

ó hAilpín's goal tally prompted top commentator Stephen Quartermain to say "Big Setanta, the new Fevola" when the former hurler clinched the hat-trick. ó hAilpín's tally could have been even bigger as he missed a kick after the siren to score a behind. But in a superb all-round display ó hAilpín 12 disposals and took seven marks.

DUBLIN (SH v Cork): G Maguire; N Corcoran, T Brady, O Gough; S Hiney, J Boland, M O'Brien; J McCaffrey, S Durkin; P Kelly, L Rushe, L Ryan; D O'Callaghan, D Treacy, A McCrabbe. Subs: A Nolan, R Trainor, R Fallon, D Curtin, S Lambert, S Ryan, D O'Dwyer, P Carton, K Flynn.

CORK (SH): D óg Cusack; S O'Neill, E Cadogan, S Murphy; A Ryan, R Curran, S óg O hAilpin; T Kenny, C Naughton; B O'Connor, A ó hAilpín, N McCarthy; P O'Sullivan, M Cussen, P Horgan.

TIPPERARY (SH v Waterford): B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Maher, P Curran; D Fanning, C O'Mahony, S Maher; B Maher, S McGrath; G Ryan, L Corbett, N McGrath; E Kelly, J O'Brien, T Hammersley.

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