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Royals bolstered by return of Reilly and Bray

SEAMUS McENANEY'S unlikely tilt at Leinster SFC glory has been boosted by the recall of two key players to the Meath starting team.

Fit-again full-back Kevin Reilly and former All Star forward Stephen Bray have both been included for Sunday's Croke Park showdown with defending Leinster and All-Ireland champs Dublin.

The long-established duo have been dogged by injury trouble this summer. Bray - arguably Meath's top performer during a disastrous league - will be making his first championship start because of a hamstring injury that occurred in the lead-up to their opening round against Wicklow.

Reilly, meanwhile, didn't start their pulsating semi-final win over Kildare because of an Achilles problem.

However, both were fit enough to come off the bench during that second half, and their inclusion arguably gives a greater balance between battle-hardened experience and youthful exuberance as Meath seek to achieve back-to-back shock victories.

The players losing out are young defender Ciarán Lenehan and the recently out-of-form Cian Ward.

Lenehan was replaced by Eoghan Harrington after just 18 minutes against Kildare, but this time McEnaney opts for a defensive reshuffle with Reilly resuming in his usual No 3 spot, Bryan Menton moving back out to wing-back and Mickey Burke reverting to corner-back.

Bray came on for Ward after 41 minutes of the Kildare victory and went on to score a point. The 2007 All Star could also claim an intriguing 'assist' for Peadar Byrne's goal - charging into a 'ruck' and going unpunished, with referee Michael Collins awarding the throw-up ball (instead of a free) that directly led to the goal.

Some Dublin fans may be glad to see the back of Ward, given his previous deadball heroics off the bench to secure a draw in 2007, and also his dazzling goal during Meath's five-goal avalanche in the 2010 Leinster semi-final.

Not that Bray's recall offers much solace on that front: the Navan O'Mahony's man bagged 2-1 against a shellshocked Dublin full-back line two years ago.

MEATH (SFC v Dublin): D Gallagher; D Keogan, K Reilly, M Burke; D Tobin, S McAnarney, B Menton; C Gillespie, B Meade; A Forde, D Carroll, G Reilly; B Farrell, J Sheridan, S Bray.

MEATH (MFC v Dublin): J Hannigan; D Smyth, B Power, S Gallagher; P Kennelly, S McEntee, R O Coileain; A Flanagan, P Harnan; C O'Sullivan, J Daly, J McEntee; B Dardis, S Coogan, F Ward.