The midfielder made a big name for himself by powering Ballyboden to the Dublin SFC title last autumn and has been rewarded with a place on Pat Gilroy’s 24-man panel.
He’s among a number of newcomers to the set-up for the O’Byrne Cup first-round clash with Wexford at Parnell Park. Former U21 star Dean Rock, son of county legend Barney, is also named while there are high hopes for newcomers Craig Reilly, Dean Kelly, Conor McCormack, James McCarthy, Sean Murray, Shane McGrath and Denis Carrigan.
Gilroy will be without up to 18 players for the competition as students at UCD, DIT and DCU must line out for their colleges in the competition.
On top of that, former skipper Alan Brogan and Dermot Connolly are injured while a knock has also kept ex-Ipswich Town goalkeeper Shane Supple from playing any part.
Gilroy has retained experience in the shape of ex-All Star Stephen Cluxton, Bernard Brogan, Paul Casey, Ross McConnell and Tomás Quinn. But it’s generally a new-look squad reflecting his vow to shake his panel up in 2010.
Whelan has retired while Jason Sherlock, 33, may not return after being told his club form will be monitored in the coming weeks.
Boss Gilroy is clearly taking a hard line approach to the new season and brought his panel together for training on Tuesday – before and after work. One notable inclusion for training in the punishing conditions was full-forward Mark Davoren who made a big impression early last season before tearing cruciate knee ligaments in the Leinster championship against Meath. He took part in straight line running and will be hoping to play some part in the league which begins on February 7 away to Kerry.
DUBLIN (panel v Wexford): S Cluxton, C Reilly, A Hubbard, B Brogan, B Kelly, B McManamon, C McCormack, D Daly, D Kelly, D Rock, D Carrigan, E O’Gara, E Fennell, J Brogan, J McCarthy, K Bonner, M McAuley, P Casey, P Conlon, R McConnell, S Murray, S McGrath, T Diamond, T Quinn.