Clerkin follows in father’s footsteps

MONAGHAN make two changes from the team that defeated Derry for Sunday’s Allianz NFL Division Two final against Meath at Croke Park.

Rory Woods, sent off on a straight red card, is replaced up front by Dermot McArdle while Dick Clerkin replaces Mark Daly at top of the left.

Gary McQuaid, who went off injured on Sunday plays at right full back.

It will be a historic day for Clerkin, whose father Hugo lined out for the county side in the 1985 League decider against Armagh along with Gerry McCarville, Bernie Murray and Gerard Hoey who are now selectors.

Meanwhile, Meath’s Nigel Crawford is a major doubt after suffering a recurrence of a stomach injury, which he picked up prior to the championship clash with Wicklow last year.

With Meath opening their bid for Leinster honours in five weeks, Sean Boylan will err on the side of caution in deciding whether his chief midfielder takes any part at Croke Park.

“It’s okay from a day to day basis, but when I stretch at the moment it’s a little bit sore,” said Crawford yesterday. “I’d love to play, especially as it’s at Croke Park, but I don’t want to be left regretting anything either. It’s not the kind of injury that you can strap up because of where it’s located and I’m going to go by whatever the doctor advises.”

A member of the 1999 All-Ireland winning side, Crawford has been hampered by minor injuries this past two years, the most serious occurring two seasons ago when he missed three championship matches due to complications with a torn thigh muscle.

Over 30,000 tickets for Sunday’s Allianz NFL finals at Croke Park have been sold. Tickets are available from the Ticket Office in Croke Park from 11am to 7pm today and on Saturday from 11am-5pm and are also on sale from McCaughey’s Shop, Clonliffe Rd., O’Neill’s Newsagent, Drumcondra Rd. and The Skylon Hotel.

They are also available from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide, from the GAA website (www.gaa.ie) or from the Ticket hotline by calling 0818-719300 or 0870-2434455 (if ringing from the six counties). Adult stand tickets cost €25 and Hill 16 tickets €15. Student and Senior citizens with appropriate identification will be admitted for €5 and Juvenile (U16) tickets will cost €2. Group rates for clubs and schools are also available through the GAA Ticket Office at 01-8363222 or via e-mail to tickets@gaa.ie.

Tickets will also be available on the day from 11am at ticket outlets in Ballybough (under the railway bridge), at Gill’s Corner at the junction of the North Circular Rd/Fitzgibbon St, from the Matt Talbot Credit Union on Fitzgibbon St and from the Bishop’s Palace on Drumcondra Rd.

Cash will only be taken on the day at Semple Stadium, for the Allianz Hurling League Final/Colleges Finals.

Adult stand tickets will cost €25 and terrace tickets €15. Student and Senior Citizens with appropriate identification will be admitted for €5 and Juveniles (U16) will be admitted free of charge.

Patrons are asked to note that the starting time of the Colleges Hurling final between St Flannan’s and St Kieran’s is 2.45pm (not 3pm as previously stated) while the Colleges Football final between Knockbeg College and St Marys will start at 1pm. These games will precede the Allianz NHL final between Kilkenny and Clare which has a 4.30pm throw-in.

MONAGHAN (SF v Meath): S. Duffy; G. McQuaid, V. Corey, C. Flanagan; D. Freeman, J. Coyle, J. Ward; F. Duffy, J. McElroy; P. Finlay, T. Freeman, S. McManus; D. McArdle, R. Ronaghan, D. Clerkin.

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