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Things are not gr-eight for Dubs

The All Ireland Football Championship is due to be formally launched shortly - but already the pressure has been stepped up on two sides in particular.

Dublin, who lost the National Football League Division Two final against Westmeath on Saturday, will now be without as many as eight players for their opening Leinster Championship tie against Louth, who are managed by Ulster man Eamonn McEnaney.

Louth will be afforded an opportunity to make real headway in Leinster now that the Central Hearings Committee has confirmed the suspensions of the four Dublin players who requested hearings in an attempt to have their punishments overturned following the violence that marked the game against Meath on Sunday week last.

Tomas Quinn, Bernard Brogan, Paddy Andrews and Diarmuid Connolly have all been banned and now join Ciaran Whelan, Paul Flynn, Ross McConnell and Eamon Fennell on the sidelines.

Dublin manager Paul Caffrey will now take a weakened squad into the Championship.

Meanwhile, Kerry manager Pat O'Shea was given a warning in yesterday's National League Final defeat by Derry that winning a third All Ireland title on the trot could prove far from being a straightforward exercise.

Dublin have remained in limbo in terms of winning the All Ireland title and they have not won the National League crown since 1993.

Up until yesterday Kerry were clear favourites to retain the Sam Maguire Cup, but the bookmakers may now be forced to revise their odds slightly.

Meanwhile, Monaghan manager Seamus McEnaney, whose side meet Fermanagh in the Ulster Championship next month, took stock of the Ernesiders in yesterday's Division Three Final defeat by Wexford at Parnell Park, Dublin.

Belfast Telegraph


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