Kerry captain Donaghy dropped for All-Ireland final
ÉAMONN FITZMAURICE has made three changes to the Kerry side that will face Dublin in Sunday’s All-Ireland showdown.
Kingdom captain Kieran Donaghy has been replaced at full-forward by Paul Geaney, whose introduction in the semi-final against Tyrone was a significant factor in their eventual 0-18 to 1-11 victory. Geaney is also Kerry’s top-scorer to date in this year’s Championship, with 2-11, including his three crucial points against the Red Hands after replacing Donaghy at half-time.
Fitzmaurice has also dropped Marc Ó Sé and Paul Murphy from the Kerry full-back line, with Aidan O’Mahony and last year’s All-Ireland winning captain Fionn Fitzgerald named as their replacements. The 35-year-old Ó Sé, going for his sixth Celtic Cross, is reported to be struggling with a hamstring injury, and if the team lines out as selected it will be the first time Kerry will start an All-Ireland Senior final without one of the Ó Sé family since 1972.
Allstar half-back Paul Murphy regained his place for the Munster final replay against Cork after recovering from a broken collarbone, but the Rathmore clubman has also fallen victim to the Kerry panel’s noted strength-in-depth. Instead, he will form part of a star-studded Kerry subs bench, with Bryan Sheehan, Darran O’Sullivan, Paul Galvin and Tommy Walsh all available for introduction.
Midfield colossus David Moran will wear the captain's armband and, at centre half-back, Peter Crowley keeps his place after successfully shackling Tyrone’s Seán Cavanagh in the semi-final.
In the half-forward line, Stephen O’Brien and Johnny Buckley have been unsung heroes for Kerry this year and the full-forward line of Paul Geaney, James O’Donoghue and Colm Cooper has the potential to wreak havoc against Jim Gavin’s Dublin side.
The final will be Cooper’s 82nd Championship match, leaving him six behind Tomás Ó Sé’s record of 88 matches in the green and gold. In all, 11 of Sunday’s first XV started last year’s final against Donegal (the exceptions being Colm Cooper, Brendan Kealy, Shane Enright and Jonathan Lyne).
Kerry (All-Ireland SFC final v Dublin): B Kealy; F Fitzgerald, A O’Mahony, S Enright; J Lyne, P Crowley, K Young; A Maher. D Moran; S O’Brien, J Buckley, D Walsh; C Cooper, P Geaney, J O’Donogue; Substitutes: B Kelly, K Donaghy, M Ó Sé, P Murphy, B Sheehan, BJ Keane, D O’Sullivan, P Galvin, T Walsh, P Kilkenny, A Fitzgerald.