Dubs sweat on fitness of key players for Mayo clash

ALLIANZ FL DIV 1:

Dubs sweat on fitness of key players for Mayo clash

A mini injury crisis, which laid seven players low following club action last weekend, has compounded an already troublesome situation for boss Jim Gavin.

The All-Ireland winning St Vincent’s club players still haven’t returned to action — a decision will be taken on their availability today — while it remains to be seen if U21 players are risked ahead of next Wednesday’s Leinster U21 FC final against Meath.

Throw in the fact that Bernard Brogan, Paul Flynn and Rory O’Carroll aren’t certain starters following injuries and Ciarán Kilkenny is definitely out and Dublin’s difficulties become even more apparent.

The holders’ disarray ahead of Round Six is in contrast to Mayo’s settled set-up with manager James Horan happily returning captain Andy Moran to his line-up, ensuring 12 of last September’s starting 15 play again.

“We let the players go back to the clubs last weekend, we picked up about seven knocks, (and got) seven injuries from that,” said Gavin. “So we’ll just have to see how guys progress over the next 48 hours.

“Quite a lot of the guys didn’t train earlier in the week because of those injuries. So we’ll just have to see how that progresses and then we’ll make an assessment on it.”

Gavin may find it difficult to resist returning Diarmuid Connolly to action after his All-Ireland club final tour de force for Vincent’s on St Patrick’s Day. The talented forward shot 2-5 from play with 2-4 in the second half when Vincent’s pushed on to secure a famous victory.

With Kilkenny sidelined for the season because of a cruciate knee ligament injury, Connolly is the leading contender to take the 11 jersey with Alan Brogan and Kevin McManamon other strong options.

Gavin rejected the suggestion that Connolly now needs to show such top form on a regular basis.

“We certainly saw it last year that he was probably our most consistent forward, from a management perspective,” continued Gavin. “We were very happy with the return we got from Diarmuid in all games.”

Gavin confirmed Vincent’s wing-back Michael Concarr, a goalscorer in the final win over Castlebar Mitchels, has also been called into the squad.

Meanwhile, Dublin chairman Andy Kettle said he was surprised by Meath’s reaction to the Leinster U21 final venue controversy.

Royal County chairman Conor Tormey was fuming that Dublin, firstly, didn’t agree to a coin toss and then refused to play at Parnell Park, meaning the tie had to be moved to Portlaoise.

“Why they wanted to come to Parnell Park so badly, I don’t know,” said Kettle, who hit out at the coin-toss arrangements.

“On the hurling front, we were put in that position for this weekend. We had no choice regarding a coin toss for the Waterford relegation game. I would prefer it be in Nowlan Park or some neutral venue. I don’t think that tossing a coin at any stage is a good idea to decide venues.”

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