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Tuesday 13 November 2018

'Snow-go' for Mannion against Kerry

Injured: Paul Mannion
Injured: Paul Mannion

Dublin are poised to be without Paul Mannion for their Croke Park date with Kerry - presuming their Allianz Football League showdown goes ahead this Saturday night.

Even if the Division 1 encounter is 'snowed off' and refixed for the following weekend, the likelihood is that Mannion will be forced to sit it out because of a hamstring injury.

The jet-heeled All Star pulled up during last Saturday night's victory in Castlebar, having earlier torched the Mayo full-back line for 1-1 in the opening half.

He immediately signalled that he was in trouble after undercooking a shot, off his weaker right, into the arms of Mayo 'keeper Robert Hennelly.

Mannion was promptly replaced by Colm Basquel and, afterwards, Jim Gavin remarked: "It doesn't look too bad in the dressing-room inside there. But we'll just give him time to recover over the next 24 hours and let those medical protocols kick in. He'll get a scan and we'll see how he goes."

While Mannion rehabs his injury, Basquel is an obvious candidate for a starting recall.

An All-Ireland club winner (with Ballyboden St Enda's) and U21 champion (with Dublin), Basquel had made a flying start to this current league campaign. After three rounds he was Dublin's top scorer with 0-10 (1f), despite only entering the fray against Tyrone beyond the hour-mark.

However, Cormac Costello could also be line to feature in some capacity against Kerry.

Dublin's super-sub hero in the 2016 All-Ireland final replay has enjoyed only fleeting game-time since then, missing out on most of the 2017 campaign before returning as an injury-time sub against Mayo last September.

Costello has yet to appear during this latest league campaign, again hindered by a couple of niggles.

Having recovered from an ankle injury, he made the bench for round three against Donegal but didn't come on.

The Whitehall ace wasn't listed in the match-day 26 against Mayo, apparently having picked up another injury, but he is back in training now.

The GAA will make a call tomorrow on this weekend's NFL and NHL fixtures. With a thick blanket of snow covering most of the country, there remains a huge question mark over the entire progamme.

Croke Park is the one surface best designed to beat the elements but whether Dublin/Kerry would proceed in isolation must be in question, with the safety of approach routes another key factor.

The GAA has put together a contingency plan for every fixture between now and the end of the leagues, according to Feargal McGill, director of games administration and player welfare. This plan, said McGill, would "allow us to finish the leagues and not impact on the club window in April. The plan doesn't involve any midweek games."

Meanwhile, Dublin GAA have called off all club games this weekend at juvenile and adult level.

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