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Big Names Omitted As Jim Gavin Names Dublin Team To Play Kildare

Big Names Omitted As Jim Gavin Names Dublin Team To Play Kildare
By Arthur James O'Dea

Ahead of Sunday's first Leinster football final between Dublin and Kildare in eight years, the announcement of Dublin's starting XV has provoked some surprise. Although few suspect Kildare capable of replicating their three-point deficit loss of 2009, Cian O'Neill's unchanged side will not have to contend with Johnny Cooper, Bernard Brogan and Philly McMahon; all three will start on the Dublin bench.

Whatever lessons could have been taken from Dublin's 31-point evisceration of Westmeath remain unclear. Eoghan O'Gara's second half performance was deemed sufficient to warrant his starting place at full-forward, with Con O'Callaghan joining Niall Scully and Paul Mannion in the half-forward line. The 31-year-old O'Gara will take his place between a Rock, Dean and... Paddy Andrews.

Against both Carlow and Westmeath, Gavin had opted for the midfield pairing of Brian Fenton and James McCarthy. Yet, demonstrating the extent of this reshuffle, Ciarán Kilkenny will displace McCarthy as the latter returns to the more familiar surroundings of the half-back line.

With Cooper, the sole omission of the XV who started against Westmeath, the task of halting Kildare's Daniel Flynn will fall to Michael Fitzsimons. With the Lilies' full-forward scoring 1-04 in Kildare's semi-final defeat of Meath, Gavin's decision to omit Cooper is curious indeed.

Going for a record-breaking seventh successive Leinster title, Dublin's procession to this point in the championship has become gradually easier as the run has progressed. Few will expect much of Kildare on Sunday, and, given Gavin's decision to drop Cooper, any potential issue of complacency may have been offset at the source.

1. Stephen Cluxton
2. Darren Daly
3. Michael Fitzsimons
4. Eric Lowndes
5. James McCarthy
6. Cian O'Sullivan
7. Jack McCaffrey
8. Brian Fenton
9. Ciarán Kilkenny
10. Niall Scully
11. Paul Mannion
12. Con O'Callaghan
13. Paddy Andrews
14. Eoghan O'Gara 1
5. Dean Rock

Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

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