king con | 

Game-changer Con O’Callaghan makes Dublin favourites to lift Sam Maguire

Dublin's Con O'Callaghan in action against Kildare's Mick O'Grady during the Leinster SFC final. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Dublin's Con O'Callaghan in action against Kildare's Mick O'Grady during the Leinster SFC final. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Michael VerneyIndependent.ie

Dublin are favourites to regain the All-Ireland SFC title if ace attacker Con O’Callaghan is available for this Sunday’s mouth-watering semi-final clash with old rivals Kerry, according to Wexford football boss Shane Roche.

There is serious doubt about whether O’Callaghan, who missed their quarter-final defeat of Cork a fortnight ago, will be fit to return for Dessie Farrell’s Dubs and Roche insists his inclusion is a “complete game-changer” with regards to the destination of Sam Maguire.

Roche was in the opposite corner when his Model side fell heavily to an O’Callaghan-inspired Dublin in their Leinster SFC clash at the end of April – when the Cuala powerhouse fired 1-6 from play – and he recognises the threat of the three-time All-Star even more than most.

“If Con’s playing, it makes so much of a difference, it’s that much of a game-changer,” Roche said. “And if he plays against Kerry, Dublin are favourites for the All-Ireland and he’s potentially the Footballer of the Year.

“The handicap against Cork was 12 points and when Con wasn’t playing, I felt they wouldn’t reach that. He’ll take your primary man marker and Kerry would have to designate Jason Foley on him.

“That obviously frees up some of the other key Dublin forwards. Even if he’s not involved on the scoreboard, he’s such a good ball-winner and so unselfish that he’ll lay it off to a third-man or fourth-man runner.

“He’s a direct runner and Dublin will obviously create far more goal-scoring opportunities with him on the field.”

Meanwhile, David Clifford is believed to be clear to play on Sunday, despite picking up a minor leg injury against Mayo, but Jack Barry is still doubtful due to the calf injury that kept him out of the Mayo game.


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