There is always plenty of rumours and conjecture ahead of an All Ireland Final, particularly about players who may be carrying an injury and if they will recover in time to line out for the big day.
There has been plenty of speculation going around since Dublin’s semi-final victory over Kerry about the fitness of both James McCarthy and Denis Bastick.
McCarthy missed both the Leinster Final against Westmeath and All Ireland quarter final against Donegal with a knee injury. He returned for the semi-final against the Kingdom but suffered a shoulder injury in the first half of the game.
It looked like the Ballymun Kickhams star might be replaced at the break, but he came out for the second half and put in a storming performance. But the player was seen later in the evening with his arm in a sling which surely curbed his involvement in training since and raised fears he might be unavailable for the Final.
But at a pre All Ireland Final press conference Dublin boss Jim Gavin insisted there were no concerns that McCarthy’s shoulder would prevent him from starting his fourth All Ireland Final on Sunday week.
Gavin described McCarthy “as tough as teak,” and also enthused about his performance the last day, “you saw his mobility on the pitch, that’s what he was demonstrating in the weeks leading up to that game.”
Having played for most of the year either in the starting 15 or from the bench, Denis Bastick was nowhere to be seen against Kerry leading to questions about the health of the player. But Jim Gavin made it clear that Bastick’s non-appearance against the Kingdom was down to a tactical call and not injury.
“He’s in the shape of his life,” he explained.
“It’s a team game like we’ve always said and whatever players we ask to take the field to do the job but behind that there’s a squad of 30 pushing each other on along the way and he’s a big part of that.”