HomeFootballBrian Fenton returns to Dublin starting line-up for Leinster semi-final against Offaly

Brian Fenton returns to Dublin starting line-up for Leinster semi-final against Offaly


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The seven-time All-Ireland winner and six-time All-Star missed out on the quarter-final cruise past Meath, serving a one-match suspension arising from his league final red card against Derry.

But with Fenton eligible again, he resumes at midfield alongside Tom Lahiff.

The player losing out is Seán Bugler, who fired home Dublin’s opening goal against the Royals.

One other notable absentee – from the bench – is Evan Comerford, with David O’Hanlon taking on the role of sub ‘keeper.

GAA Preview – 26th April 2024

As ever with the Dubs, 11th hour changes cannot be discounted. For their opening provincial foray, veteran netminder Stephen Cluxton, fellow nine-time All-Ireland winner Mick Fitzsimons and Paul Mannion were promoted to the starting team before throw-in; all three are now listed to start.

Skipper James McCarthy, who appeared as a sub against Meath, is again held in reserve – for now at least. The reigning All-Ireland champions will start as unbackable 1/500 favourites against Division 3 opposition whom they haven’t faced in Leinster senior combat since 2007.

Meanwhile, Glenn Ryan makes one enforced alteration as Kildare chase a priceless victory over Louth that would not only secure a Leinster final berth but a place in the All-Ireland series.

With Kevin Flynn suspended following his red card against Wicklow, the Lilies have relocated Alex Beirne to midfield and promoted Paddy Woodgate from the bench to wing-forward.

However, Ryan and his embattled management team have another readily available midfield option with the return of Kevin O’Callaghan to the match-day 26. The Celbridge man has been sidelined for several outings with a knee issue, patella tendonitis.

Kildare have been on the back foot all season, suffering relegation to Division 3 after losing all seven league fixtures. That left them staring championship demotion to the Tailteann Cup unless they reach a Leinster final, and they endured a huge late scare against Wicklow before pulling through at the death via Jack Sargent’s fisted winning point.

As expected, Ger Brennan has stuck with the Louth team that started their quarter-final against Wexford as the Wee County go chasing the rarity of back-to-back provincial final appearances.

Dermot Campbell, carrying a knock since that game, retains his full-back place while, on the bench, Conor Early returns from injury. On the flip side, Craig Lennon’s injury-disrupted season continues, and he again misses out on the match-day 26.

Shaun Patton has been named to start in goals as Donegal seek to build on their thrilling ambush of Derry in Sunday’s mouthwatering Ulster SFC semi-final clash against Tyrone.

Patton played a key role in last weekend’s dismantling of the league champions, with his booming kickouts leading directly to two of Donegal’s first three goals.

He was subsequently forced off with a leg injury and replaced by Gavin Mulreany, whose own long restart duly led to a fourth goal.

Based on the Donegal squad unveiled today, Patton would seem to have recovered sufficiently to start – although an 11th hour switch cannot be ruled out as Jim McGuinness returns to Celtic Park, the scene of last Saturday’s stunning success.

Donegal have named the same match-day 26 as last week with Caolan McColgan, Eoghan ‘Ban’ Gallagher and Conor O’Donnell missing out again. Skipper Patrick McBrearty is again listed at No 13 – albeit he was held back as an impact sub last weekend.

Tyrone have named Joe Oguz to start at wing-forward at the expense of Liam Gray.

Conn Kilpatrick is on the bench after injury forced him to miss last Sunday’s marathon extra-time duel with Cavan, but Conor Meyler, Frank Burns and Peter Harte are not in the squad.

DUBLIN (SFC v Offaly) – S Cluxton; S MacMahon, M Fitzsimons, E Murchan; B Howard, J Small, C Murphy; B Fenton, T Lahiff; R McGarry, C Kilkenny, N Scully; P Mannion, C O’Callaghan, C Basquel. Subs: D O’Hanlon, S Bugler, T Clancy, C Costello, J McCarthy, K McGinnis, D Newcombe, P Ó Cofaigh Byrne, L O’Dell, K O’Gara, P Small.

OFFALY (SFC) – I Duffy; L Pearson, D Dempsey, J Furlong; C Egan, D Hogan, P Cunningham; E Carroll, J McEvoy; D Hyland, R McNamee, J Hayes; N Poland, K O’Neill, J Bryant. Subs: M Cunningham, D Finneran, J O’Brien, D McDaid, R Egan, C Flynn, K McDermott, D Molloy, N Dunne, C Farrell, C Donoghue.

KILDARE (SFC v Louth) – M Donnellan; R Burke, S Ryan, M O’Grady; J Sargent, E Doyle, P McDermott; A Masterson, A Beirne; P Woodgate, N Kelly, S Farrell; K Feely, D Kirwan, D Flynn. Subs: D Cordonnier, T Archbold, B Byrne, B Coffey, R Houlihan, B Kelly, L Killian, S McCormack, K O’Callaghan, H O’Neill, S O’Sullivan.

LOUTH (SFC) – N McDonnell; D McKenny, D Campbell, P Lynch; C McKeever, A Williams, L Grey; T Durnin, C Murphy; T Jackson, C Keenan, C Grimes; R Burns, S Mulroy, C Downey. Subs: C Lynch, C O’Neill, P McStravick, L Jackson, D Corcoran, B Duffy, N Sharkey, W Campbell, J Hughes, C Early, P Mathews.

DONEGAL (SFC v Tyrone) – S Patton; M Curran, B McCole, C Moore; R McHugh, C McGonagle, P Mogan; J McGee, M Langan; S O’Donnell, C Thompson, D Ó Baoill; P McBrearty, O Gallen, N O’Donnell. Subs: G Mulreany, K McGettigan, S McMenamin, O Doherty, D Mac Giolla Bhride, J Mac Ceallbhuí, H McFadden, J Brennan, A Doherty, JR Molloy, C Mac Aonghása.

TYRONE (SFC) – N Morgan; C Devlin, P Hampsey, M McKernan; S O’Donnell, M Donnelly, N Devlin; B Kennedy, A Donaghy; C Daly, K McGeary, J Oguz; D McCurry, D Canavan, R Canavan. Subs: L Quinn, A Clarke, B Cullen, C Cush, C Donnelly, C Kilpatrick, N McCarron, L McCarthy, C McShane, M O’Neill, T Quinn.

DOWN (SFC v Armagh) – J O’Hare; P Fegan, R McEvoy, C Doherty; M Rooney, P Laverty, S Johnston; J Flynn, O Murdock; D Guinness, L Kerr, R Johnston; B O’Hagan, P Havern, D Magill. Subs: K Anderson, R Magill, F McElroy, J Guinness, O Savage, C McCrickard, S Annett, R Mason, G McKibben, E Brown, P McCarthy.

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