Jack O’Connor has chosen an unchanged Kerry team to end 13 years of championship qualms by Dublin.
However, the return of Jack Barry and Adrian Spillane on Kerry’s Matchday 26 will fuel speculation that there could be an 11th-hour change in Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC semi-final showdown.
Both missed out through injury in the Kingdom’s turbulent quarter-final win over Mayo. Barry started both games at Munster before, while Spillane started against Cork and then came on as a substitute against Limerick.
Now they return to the bench, excluding Darragh Roche and Stefan Okunbor. However, depending on his level of fitness, the prospect of a late call-up from Barry cannot be ruled out as he has previously successfully quashed the influence of Brian Fenton.
As expected, David Clifford is listed in his usual No. 14 position despite the ankle injury he sustained in the first half against Mayo. Kerry’s powerful striker shrugged off that setback, scoring a brilliant goal and ending the quarterfinals properly.
Kerry, marginal 4/5 favorite at the bookies, is aiming to end their worst championship run ever against the Dubs.
O’Connor was manager when they crushed Pat Gilroy’s “terrified catchy tunes” in a quarter-final landslide in 2009, but since then Dublin have prevailed in the 2011 All-Ireland final, 2013 semi-final, 2015 decider and then, in the 2016 semi-final, at second attempt, in the final repeat 2019.
Dessie Farrell is yet to name his Dublin team, which usually comes out around Saturday lunchtime, and will have all eyes on Matchday 26 to see if it includes skipper James McCarthy and Con O’Callaghan, both of whom sat out the quarter-final win over Cork through injury .
Pádraic Joyce has remained loyal to the 15 Galway starters who endured that titanic penalty shoot-out win over Armagh for Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC semi-final against Derry.
That means first-choice goalkeeper Conor Gleeson gets a chance to atone for the mistakes that contributed to Armagh’s three goals on the last day.
Meanwhile, skipper Seán Kelly is back in third place after his red card resulting from that controversial scuffle at the end of regular time was overturned.
There are two changes to the Galway subs, Johnny McGrath coming in for the suspended Cathal Sweeney while Dylan Canney ousts Tomo Culhane.
Meanwhile, Derry boss Rory Gallagher has recalled longtime Emmett Bradley for the clash with Galway at Croke Park.
Bradley was mainly used as a battering substitute that summer – he was the first substitute during Clare’s quarter-final demolition – but the Glen Clubman has now been listed to start alongside Conor Glass in Oak Leaf’s engine room.
The player who loses is Niall Toner, who falls on the bench – although that selection comes with a caveat as Bradley was also named against the banner in 9th place, only for Toner to be parachuted before the throw-in.
Nigel Harte was brought back into the Westmeath defense for the opening decision of Saturday’s Tailteann Cup against Cavan at Croke Park.
The Tyrrellspass clubman had been named on the match program team to face Offaly, only for Sam Duncan to parachute in from the start. On that occasion, Harte appeared as a late sub, and now he’s been re-appointed at No. 7 at Duncan’s expense.
Galway (SFC – Derry): C Gleeson; L Silke, S Kelly, J Glynn; D McHugh, J Daly, K Molloy; P Conroy, C McDaid; Patrick Kelly, M Tierney, J Heaney; Finnerty R, Comer D, Walsh S. Subtitle: J Keane, J Foley, B Mannion, J McGrath, N Daly, Paul Kelly, O Gallagher, F Ó Laoí, E Finnerty, D Conneely, D Canney.
Derry (SFC vs Galway): O Lynch; McKaigue C, Rogers B, McCluskey C; C Doherty, G McKinless, P McGrogan; C Glas, E Bradley; Paul Cassidy, S Downey, E Doherty; Heron B, McGuigan S, Loughlin N. Subtitle: Bradley C, McNeill P, Padraig Cassidy, McCarron B, Tohill A, Murray L, Toner N, Cassidy D, Doherty M, Downey M, McWilliams O.
Westmeath (SFC – Cavan): J Daly; Smith J, Maguire K, Gonoud J; J Dolan, R Wallace, N Harte; J Lynam, R Connellan; S McCartan, R O’Toole, D Lynch; L Loughlin, J Heslin, L Dolan.
Kerry (SFC vs. Dublin): S Ryan; G O’Sullivan, J Foley, T O’Sullivan; B Ó Beaglaoíoch, T Morley, G White; D Moran, D O’Connor; D Moynihan, S O’Shea, S O’Brien; P Clifford, D Clifford, P Geaney. Subtitle: Murphy S, Brosnan T, Spillane K, Murphy P, Burns M, O’Connor J, Savage J, Crowley G, O’Shea J, Barry J, Spillane A.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/gaelic-football/kerry-galway-and-derry-teams-named-for-all-ireland-sfc-semi-final-clashes-41825944.html Teams from Kerry, Galway and Derry named for the All-Ireland SFC semi-finals