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Connolly to be centre of attention once again


Tall order: Donegal’s Jason McGee faces big test
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

Dublin never name their starting team until the day of a game and even at that, you can expect three changes to the line-up.

We would expect nothing different today as they embark on Round 2 of the Super 8s series when they host Roscommon in the supposedly 'neutral' round.

One name you definitely won't be seeing on the teamsheet however, is that of Diarmuid Connolly. For many, they might have expected that he was never going to feature again in a Dublin jersey, having dropped off the panel in February 2018.

However, it was revealed by Dublin manager Jim Gavin that he was to take part in a recovery session last Sunday and is back in harness for the drive for five consecutive All-Irelands.

Today's fixture comes too fast for Gavin to include him in his plans, and it remains doubtful that he would want to expose him to what would surely be a hot reception in the final group game in Omagh.

Either way, wherever Connolly finds himself in Croke Park tonight, there will be cameras flashing and whirring as they face Roscommon.

Mayo are the game's great survivors, but they will need every last ounce of their traditional defiance if they are to remain alive after this weekend. They are facing perhaps the weakest side in the Super 8s in Meath, but the Royals will have been hugely encouraged with how they have bounced back from a heavy defeat in the Leinster final to Dublin.

James Horan's team looked slightly jaded when they came up against a coltish Kerry side in Killarney last weekend. There appears to be significant wear and tear at this stage. But who would bet against them scraping through and setting up a serious final round game against Donegal in Castlebar?

Meanwhile, there are a number of fixtures in the Ladies All-Ireland Senior Championship this weekend.

Donegal and Tyrone meet in Round 2 of Group 4 today, in the somewhat baffling venue of Mullingar (1.45pm). Donegal got the better of Tyrone in the Ulster Championship and will be expected to repeat the trick here.

Monaghan are hosting Waterford in Cremartin at 3pm, while Cavan will face Cork in a really big test in Mullingar, at 3.30pm. Down have Limerick at home this afternoon, that game hosted by Burren with a 1pm throw-in time.

Elsewhere, in the Under-20 All-Ireland Hurling 'B' Championship, Down will face Derry in Owenbeg today (5pm).

Derry got to the decider last year but were beaten by Kerry, who appear to have a monopoly on the competition.

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