The former star attacker, winner of six All-Ireland SFC medals, whose son John Jnr is presently with Premier League side Sunderland, suffered injuries following a fall.
Meanwhile, Colm Cooper makes his first appearance for Kerry since last September’s All-Ireland final as the Kingdom bid to get their campaign up and running. Fellow All-Ireland winners Tom O’Sullivan and Darran O’Sullivan also return for Jack O’Connor’s team for the must-win clash with the Oak Leafers.
Kerry are pointless after two rounds, suffering reversals to Cork and Dublin, but they are now bolstered by the return of most of their front-line stars. Only Paul Galvin (suspended), Tomas O Sé and Mike McCarthy remain unavailable, with a growing sense of resignation surrounding McCarthy’s future with the county.
Blennerville’s David O’Callaghan, David Moran and Darran O’Sullivan will form an untried half forward line, with Declan O’Sullivan selected at left corner-forward.
Cooper’s return will be eagerly anticipated as he resumes his formidable alliance with Kieran Donaghy. The duo saw little inter-county action together in 2009 as a result of Donaghy’s foot injuries.
Meanwhile, the all-Ulster derby between Tyrone and Monaghan has failed to catch the imagination. Despite the fact the Inniskeen ground in south Monaghan has a capacity of just 3,750, demand for tickets to tomorrow’s NFL tie has fallen well short of expectation.
The game was declared an all-ticket tie last week, but the anticipated rush has not materialised. And the GAA announced last night tickets have been placed on general sale.
It’s a must-win game for both counties. Mickey Harte’s side and Seamus McEnaney’s Monaghan outfit both remain pointless after two rounds.
The Kilkenny hurling team to play Tipperary in Thurles tomorrow in the twice postponed NHL clash, shows three changes in personnel from the side which defeated Offaly last Sunday. While the goalkeeper and six backs remain unchanged John Tennyson comes into midfield and John Mulhall and Eoin Larkin will start in the forwards.
Tennyson and Larkin, (who has made a quicker recovery from injury than expected), make their first appearances of the year.
KERRY (NFL v Derry): B Kealy; P. Reidy, T. Griffin, T. O’Sullivan; A. O’Connell, A. O’Mahony, K. Young; S. Scanlon, M. Quirke; D. O’Callaghan, D. Moran, Darran O’Sullivan; C. Cooper, K. Donaghy, Declan O’Sullivan.
Subs: G Reidy, A O’Shea, P O’Connor, M O Sé, A Maher, K O’Leary, A O’Sullivan, C Kelliher, B Sheehan, G O’Driscoll.
KILDARE (NFL v Donegal): T Corley; H McGrillen, D Hendy, E Bolton; K Cribbin, M Scanlon, G White; D Flynn, D Earley; D Whyte, P O’Neill, J Doyle; K Donnelly, J Kavanagh, K Ennis.
MAYO (SH v Armagh): D O’Brien; B Higgins, K Moran, S Morley; P Barrett, C Ryan (C), S Markham; D McConn, S Hunt; E Madigan, D Dowling, B Moran; S Hoban, R Cullinane, K Robinson.
KILKENNY (NHL vTipperary): P.J. Ryan; C Hickey, B Hogan, J Dalton; T Walsh, J Tyrrell, J.J. Delaney; J Tennyson, P.J. Delaney; J Mulhall, M Rice, W O’Dwyer; R Hogan, E Larkin, A Fogarty
Subs: D Herity, R O’Neill, J Ryall, N. Hickey, D Lyng, D Fogarty, S Cummins, M Grace, P Hogan.