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Dublin: 17 °C Monday 3 August, 2020

Dubs Decision: Who can step up to the plate in Ciaran Kilkenny's absence?

Dublin have an attacking vacancy to fill with their attacker ruled out for the season.

CIARAN KILKENNY’S SEASON crashed to a halt on Saturday night when he tore his cruciate ligament early on against Kildare.

The injury means the defending All-Ireland champions will have to change things around up front in 2014. Paul Flynn, Paddy Andrews, Diarmuid Connolly, Paul Mannion and Bernard Brogan – who all started in last September’s All-Ireland final win over Mayo with Kilkenny – will all definitely be in the mix.

But which player will now come into the frame with one guaranteed vacancy?

Here’s a look at some of the contenders.

Alan Brogan

Injury wrecked last season for the 2011 Footballer of the Year. But 2014 has started on a brighter note for Brogan as he has turned out for league appearances against Kerry and Kildare so far. His class is undoubted and he is no stranger to the centre-forward role.

Alan Brogan Alan Brogan. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Dean Rock

The Ballymun Kickhams player is continuing to recover from injury and has not been involved to date in this campaign. He will return to the fold as the season progresses and will be eager to kick on from a positive 2013 season where he made valuable contributions off the bench. Came on for Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final and a starting berth is the next prize he will be chasing.

Dean Rock Dean Rock. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Kevin McManamon

The star of the show for Dublin last Saturday night as he kicked 0-8 and caused the Kildare defence untold problems. Has started all four of Dublin’s league games to date this spring and will be pushing hard to get rid of the ‘supersub’ tag. McManamon’s energy and direct lines of running seem best suited closer to goal where he can be influential.

Kevin McManamon Kevin McManamon. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Cormac Costello

The latest young prospect to roll off the Dublin underage conveyor belt. Costello was a 2012 All-Ireland minor winner and while he joined the senior setup last year, a damaged shoulder stalled his progress. Back fit this year, he particularly caught the eye in the recent Croke Park clashes against Kerry and Cork with his incisive play.

Cormac Costello Cormac Costello. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Bryan Cullen

An experienced member of the Dublin setup, the 2011 All-Ireland winning captain is an established half-forward. The Skerries Harps club man started against Cork and Kildare, indicating he remains in Jim Gavin’s plans despite the presence of several young contenders.

Bryan Cullen Bryan Cullen. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Eoghan O’Gara

Another forward who came on as a substitute in last September’s All-Ireland decider, O’Gara has endured injury problems. But this spring he has got a run of games, starting against Kerry, Westmeath and Kildare. Last Saturday he was a focal point in helping Dublin rip Kildare’s defence apart in the opening period and bagged 0-2.

Eoghan O'Gara Eoghan O'Gara. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Snapshot: Ciaran Kilkenny set for cruciate recovery with teammate Kevin O’Brien

5 talking points from the weekend’s Allianz football league action

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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