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6 players to watch as Dublin and Kildare face-off in the Leinster U21 final

It’s a repeat of the 2015 final in Leinster as Dublin and Kildare renew acquaintances.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

DUBLIN AND KILDARE go head-to-head in a repeat of last year’s EirGird Leinster U21 football final on Saturday.

Like Roscommon in Connacht, Dublin are chasing their third consecutive title. Kildare, provincial champions in 2013, stand in their way.

Here are six players to watch in the highly-anticipated game:

1. Con O’Callaghan (Dublin)

Con O'Callaghan with Trevor Collins Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

The latest talented forward to roll off the Dublin production line.

O’Callaghan scored 1-7 in the quarter-final against Meath and 0-5 in the semi-final defeat of Laois. Quite a number of Jim Gavin’s current team broke onto the senior team on the back of strong performances in successful U21 campaigns and O’Callaghan looks set to follow suit.

He put up some big scores for the Dublin minor side that won the Leinster championship in 2014 and performed well when given the opportunity for the seniors earlier this year.

2. Neil Flynn (Kildare)

Neil Flynn scores a penalty Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Flynn played a starring role in Kildare’s semi-final win, scoring 1-5. The Maynooth man was part of the Kildare minor side that fell to Roscommon in the All-Ireland quarter-finals in 2013, while he scored 0-11 when both these sides met in last year’s Leinster final.

Flynn will be the Kildare forward that’ll need watching the most and his accuracy from placed balls is key to his team’s hopes.

3. Colm Basquel (Dublin)

Fresh from scoring 1-1 in the All-Ireland club final win over Castlebar Mitchels, Basquel scored 1-3 just 48 hours later in Dublin’s Leinster U21 semi-final win over Laois.

Basquel has an electric turn of pace and while he was brought off the bench after 37 minutes in the semi-final, he’s likely to be a key figure from the start against Kildare.

The Ballyboden attacker has enjoyed a remarkably successful few months. As well as winning the Dublin, Leinster and All-Ireland club championships, he also lifted the Sigerson Cup with UCD in February.

Source: Conán Doherty/YouTube

4. Ben McCormack (Kildare)

McCormack joins Flynn and Chris Healy in a lethal Lilywhites full-forward line. The trio bagged 1-12 between them in the Leinster semi-final and McCormack top-scored from play with four points.

The Sarsfields youngster started for Kildare in the 2014 All-Ireland minor quarter-final defeat to Kerry.

5. Martin Cahalan (Dublin)

Cahalan scored two points in a marauding performance from wing-back against Laois in the semi-final.

The Cuala defender started at full-back for Dublin in their All-Ireland U21 semi-final defeat to Tipperary last year.

He was part of the UCD panel that won the Sigerson Cup and claimed a Leinster minor medal with Dublin in 2012.

Cahalan has license to get forward and has the ability to hurt Kildare on the flank.

6. Paschal Connell (Kildare)

Paschal Connell is tackled by Sam Duncan Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Connell was part of the Kildare minor team that won the Leinster title in 2013 and he’s been a key presence for the Kildare U21s for the last couple of years.

The Athy midfielder was dominant around the middle alongside Luke Flynn in the semi-final but they’ll face an altogether more difficult battle for aerial control against the Dubs.

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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