U-20 stars join Offaly panel as team named to face Dublin

The Offaly senior football panel has been boosted by the influx of 11 of last year’s All-Ireland U-20 heroes.

The addition of the All-Ireland winning contingent compensates to some extent for the loss of several experienced campaigners.

Cathal Flynn (Ferbane), Morgan Tynan (Ballinagar), Kieran Dolan (Shamrocks), Aaron Brazil (Shannonbridge), Sean O'Toole (Shamrocks), Lee Pearson (Edenderry) and Tullamore duo John Furlong and Cormac Egan have been drafted into John Maughan’s squad.

They join exciting attacker Jack Bryant (Shamrocks), Cathal Donoghue (Kilcormac-Killoughey) and Rory Egan (Edenderry), who were on the senior panel last year, though they didn't receive any game time.

The aforementioned Bryant helped Dublin City University to win the Higher Education Senior Football League Division 1 (Ryan Cup) title with victory over NUI Galway in Tubberclair earlier this week.

Also among the faces in the Offaly panel are Tullamore's Luke Egan, Durrow's Gerry Spollen (who impressed in his club’s march to the 2021 SFC semi-finals), Raheen's Dylan Hyland, Shannonbridge's Jack Darcy and Tullamore's Diarmuid Egan (a brother of Cormac).

Keith O’Neill of Clonbullogue will also join the panel in due course. At present, Clonbullogue are preparing to contest the AIB Leinster club junior football final against Kilcullen of Kildare on January 15 in Newbridge.

In addition to the emerging youthful talent, the Offaly football panel has been boosted by the addition of Kerry maestro Tomás Ó Sé in a coach/selector role.

However, there are also some significant setbacks in terms of injuries to established players.

Edenderry attacker Cian Farrell and Rhode defender Eoin Rigney look set to be out for the inter-county season, having undergone cruciate ligament operations towards the end of last year.

In addition, Peter Cunningham is on duty with the Defence Forces in Syria and with the Leinster championship starting in April, he won’t feature initially at any rate.

Midfielder Eoin Carroll has taken a year out in order to go travelling, while Shane Horan of Kilmacud Crokes – who contest the Leinster senior club final this weekend - has also opted out.

Declan Hogan, Niall McNamee, David Dempsey and the recalled Conor McNamee are recovering from injuries at the moment, while a number of Offaly players were unable to train last weekend due to Covid-19 issues.

Offaly face Leinster champions Dublin in their first competitive game of the 2022 season today (Saturday), with the counties meeting in the opening round of the O’Byrne Cup (Tullamore, 2pm). The Offaly team selected to play Dublin and the subs are listed below.

Following the clash with Dublin, Offaly will host Longford next Wednesday, January 12 (Faithful Fields, Kilcormac, 7.30pm), and will then travel to Ardee for a meeting with Louth on Saturday, January 15.

Offaly team v Dublin

1. Paddy Dunican (Shamrocks)

2. Lee Pearson (Edenderry)

3. James Lalor (Raheen)

4. Ciaran Donnelly (Bracknagh)

5. Rory Egan (Edenderry)

6. Johnny Moloney (Tullamore)

7. Cian Donohoe (St Brigid's)

8. Cathal Mangan (Kilclonfert)

9. Jordan Hayes (Edenderry)

10. Bill Carroll (Cappincur)

11. Diarmuid Egan (Tullamore)

12. Morgan Tynan (Ballinagar)

13. Jack Bryant (Shamrocks)

14. Anton Sullivan (Rhode)

15. Ruairi McNamee (Rhode)

Subs: Ian Duffy (Walsh Island), Niall Darby (Rhode), Aaron Leavy (Tullamore), Joseph O'Connor (St Rynagh's), Kieran Dolan (Shamrocks), Cormac Egan (Tullamore), Jack Darcy (Shannonbridge), Dan Molloy (St Brigid's), Luke Kelly (Clara), Luke Egan (Tullamore).