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TEAM NEWS Dessie Farrell declares a clean bill of health and talks up Cavan's chances

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 Jonny Cooper was injured against Meath but has recovered in time for the semi-final against Cavan

Jonny Cooper was injured against Meath but has recovered in time for the semi-final against Cavan

SPORTSFILE

Jonny Cooper was injured against Meath but has recovered in time for the semi-final against Cavan

Dessie Farrell has declared a clean bill of Dublin health ahead of Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC semi-final against Cavan.

Jonny Cooper had been flagged as the chief doubt after being forced off with another ankle injury during their Leinster final cakewalk win over Meath.

But the Dublin manager has now intimated that he’ll have a full deck to choose from this weekend.

“No injury concerns,” he told DubsTV. “Preparations have been going very well. Obviously the games are coming thick and fast, but there’s something to be liked about that as well. There’s not much down time, not much hanging around, and players are obviously anxious to get on with the games.”

Farrell was at pains to warn of Cavan’s rich vein of Ulster final form, even though his five-in-a-row champions have been installed as 1/50 favourites to reach the final.

“They’d a phenomenal win over Donegal,” he stressed. “Donegal are a highly regarded team and they made them look quite average at times, which was a great credit due to Cavan on that performance.

“They showed great character, determination, and they’re coming to an All-Ireland semi-final on the crest of a wave. (They’re) very, very confident, came through the tough side of the draw in terms of a prelim game up in Ulster which hasn’t been done in a long, long time… so they’ll be buoyed up by that.”

And despite Dublin’s latest cruise through Leinster, he cautioned: “As you go on in this competition there’s a big step-up. While Leinster was good to us, we performed quite well, we’re under no illusions as to the challenge that lies ahead once you move into All-Ireland semi-final stage.”

As expected, Farrell welcomed the decision to allow all panel members into Croke Park, not just the match-day 26.

“It’s hugely important,” he said. “Ourselves and many other teams and management teams around the country had made representations to the authorities on that one.

“It’s a whole squad effort, and it’s very unfortunate to be leaving people behind and players having to watch games at home. It was completely unsatisfactory, and we’re delighted now that has been resolved.”

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