Quinn looks to lay down marker

TOMÁS QUINN starts at corner-forward for Dublin against Armagh in the first round of the NFL this evening and wouldn’t be giving up his place without a fight.

This time last year Quinn was laid up with a broken metatarsal and missed the entire League and managed only a bit part role in the championship. But he’s confident he can now prove to Dublin boss Pat Gilroy that he should be an automatic starter this season.

Quinn said: “If you get an opportunity to start in the first game of the League it means you’re in possession of the jersey and if you produce a string of big performances then hopefully you’ll hold onto it. I had a frustrating year (in 2010) because I felt I could have contributed a lot more. Now I’ve a chance to show whether I can or not.

“You always have to keep improving and obviously what I was doing last year just wasn’t good enough.

“I have a hard month of training under my belt and I’m fitter at this time of the year than I’ve been for many seasons. Hopefully against Armagh I can lay down a marker and prove I’m good enough to stay in the team.”

Quinn is a corner-forward who likes to stay close to goal, but he knows he’ll have to adapt his game now that Dublin prefer to play with a two-pronged attack of Bernard Brogan and Eoghan O’Gara.

“Last year we changed our style of play and I think if you want to be competitive with the very best teams you have to be able to adapt like that,” he says. “I want to prove to the management that I can adapt too. The corner-forward doesn’t just stand in the corner anymore waiting for the ball to come to him and trying to score when it does.

“You have to bring more to the table than that, and playing with Bernard and Eoghan in the full-forward line is a good opportunity for me to show I can do that and show I can fit into our system of play.

“The more I play alongside someone like Eoghan who’s such a good target-man, the more I can build up a relationship with him. That’s what I’ll be trying to do over the course of the next few matches.”

Apart from the absence of Alan Brogan — who is a substitute today, the Dublin attack looks close to full-strength but there are new faces in defence with Sean Murray at full-back and James McCarthy at centre-back for the injured Ger Brennan. Dublin’s record on the road in last year’s League campaign was impressive, but Quinn reckons they’ll face a serious challenge against Armagh in the redeveloped Athletic Grounds.

“It’s always a bigger challenge when you go to an environment that you’re not used to, so it’s going to be a big test for us. That’s what you want because as a team you need to find out about yourself and tough matches like this really help in that respect. Last year, winning on the road in places like Kerry and Tyrone and producing big performances away from home was something we hadn’t done in the past and I think it was an important step forward for us. It’s all about learning from every match you play, and a game like this one against Armagh will help us evolve and make us a better team.”

ARMAGH (SF v Dublin): P McEvoy; V Martin, B Donaghy, A Mallon; K Dyas, C McKeever, P Duffy; K Toner, J Lavery; C Vernon, BJ Padden, R Grugan; B Mallon, G Swift, S McDonnell.

CARLOW (SF v Wicklow): T O’Reilly; K Nolan, S Redmond, B Kavanagh; P Cashin, T Bolger, E Nolan; B Murphy, T Murphy; S Gannon, P Hickey, E Finnegan; D St Ledger, JJ Smith, D Foley.

DUBLIN (SF v Armagh): S Cluxton; A Hubbard, S Murray, M Fitzsimons; D Lally, J McCarthy, P Casey; M D Macauley, D Bastick; B Cullen, K McManamon, D Connolly; T Quinn, E O’Gara, B Brogan.

KILDARE (SF v Antrim): S Connolly; H McGrillen, M Foley, C Fitzpatrick; D Whyte, M Scanlon, E Bolton; H Lynch, P O’Neill; E Callaghan, E O’Flaherty, T Moolick; K Ennis, W Heffernan, A Smith.

LAOIS (SF v Meath): E Culleton; R Kehoe, C Boyle, P McMahon; D Strong, M Timmons, S Julian; B Quigley, K Meaney; C Begley, J O’Loughlin, N Donoher; R Munnelly, B Sheehan, MJ Tierney.

LOUTH (v Westmeath): S Connor; E McAuley, A Hoey, G Hoey; R Finnegan, D Finnegan, S Fitzpatrick; P Keenan, R Carroll; D Crilly, M Brennan, A McDonnell; D Maguire, S Lennon, A Reid.

Subs: N Gallagher, JP Rooney, B Donnelly, R Greene, D Byrne, P Smith, J Carr, P Rath, L Shevlin, C Judge, D Clarke.

OFFALY (v Cavan): A Mulhall; B Darby, S Brady, S Pender; K Slattery, J Quinn, S Lonergan; R Dalton, J Coughlan; G Guilfoyle, D Egan, C McManus; B Allen, A Sullivan, N McNameee.

SLIGO (SF v Donegal): P Greene; C Harrison, C Davey, R Donovan; K Cawley, M Quinn, P McGovern; T Taylor, S Gilmartin; M Breheny, E O’Hara, F Quinn; D Maye, A Marren, D Kelly.

WICKLOW (SF v Carlow): J Flynn; C Hyland, A Nolan, A Byrne; P Earls, S Kelly, D Hayden; R Finn, N Gaffney; J McGrath, P Dalton, D Siney; D Odlum, S Furlong, L Glynn.

WICKLOW (SH v Meath): W O’Gorman; J Connors, G Keogh, B Cuddihy; C O’Neill, L Kennedy, G Bermingham; E Kearns, T Doyle; R Keddy, J O’Neill, E Dunne; A O’Brien, D Hyland, A Driver.

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