JIM GAVIN MAY HAVE BIG SELECTION DECISIONS AHEAD OF QUARTER FINAL
Jim Gavin may have plenty to ponder selection wise when he sits down to pick his starting team for the All Ireland quarter final in early August.
With the the possibility of James McCarthy unavailable due to injury and also missing Rory O’Carroll and Jack McCaffrey, the Dublin manager will head into the quarters without three players that started last years All Ireland Final.
Dublin have coped well without O’Carroll and McCaffrey, but McCarthy will be a huge loss if missing, particularly with the form the Ballymun Kickhams star has been in this season.
McCarthy’s absence will leave Gavin with serious decisions to make about who he picks in his place. Eric Lowndes got the chance to audition for the position the last day, but was called ashore at halftime after a lacklustre performance.
Ciaran Kilkenny was switched to the halfback line position for the second half and put in an excellent shift offering Dublin the penetration from deep they were missing in the first thirty five minutes.
Kilkenny certainly has all the attributes to play at right halfback and with Dublin having plenty of options up front and with Paddy Andrews back fully fit, Gavin may feel he can afford to play Ciaran in a more defensive role.
Another option for the Dubs Boss would be to bring Michael Fitzsimons into the full back line and switch Jonny Cooper to the halfback position.
Jonny is an excellent defender so no worries in that department and he would also provide that penetration from deep that Dublin look for and Cooper has the engine to get up and down the pitch all day so he fits the bill perfectly.
Gavin though maybe reluctant to change two lines of his defence at this stage of the season particularly as the calibre of opposition will be a big step up from what his team have faced in Leinster.
All of this will be irrelevant of course if McCarthy is fit to play, but the lack of definitive news on his fitness will only add another big talking point ahead of the quarter finals on the 6th of August and will probably rumble on till the teams line up on the Croke Park turf for the start of the game.