Dublin have received a huge boost on the eve of the championship with the news that Rory O’Carroll has rejoined the panel.
The three-time All-Ireland winner left Ireland following Dublin’s Sam Maguire cup success in 2015 opting to spend the past three seasons travelling and working in New Zealand.
Despite Dublin’s continued dominance, O’Carroll’s absence left a huge hole in their defence with Jim Gavin struggling in recent seasons to find a like-for-like replacement.
According to Colm Keys of the Independent, O’Carroll joined up with the squad last night for a gym session and is expected back onto the pitch later this week four weeks ahead of Dublin’s championship return against Louth or Wexford.
The Kilmacud Crokes man returned to Ireland in March and has since played twice in the Dublin senior championship against Ballymun Kickhams and Na Fianna respectively.
Fans had long been calling for O’Carroll’s inclusion since his return, the full-back was a rock in the heart of the Dublin defence for their All-Ireland wins in 2011, 2013 & 2015, receiving All-Stars in the two latter years.
In this year’s Allianz Football League, Dublin lost three games and where susceptible under the high-ball. Monaghan utilised it to perfection in Clones in the opening game to sink Jim Gavin’s side. Kerry weren’t as successful with it, however, their all-important goal came following a long ball into the square and against Tyrone, Dublin were ripped apart by Cathal McShane at full forward.
The warning signs were surely there and Jim Gavin is clearly taking no chances in Dublin’s drive-for-five by inviting the Kilmacud Crokes man back.
Meanwhile, news on whether Diarmuid Connolly will rejoin the squad alongside O’Carroll is still up in the air. Connolly had also returned to championship action for St. Vincent’s playing in the unfamiliar role of centre back. Now that news is confirmed of O’Carroll’s return it is looking increasingly unlikely that we will see Connolly back in a Dublin shirt.