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Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
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8 players to watch in today's Dublin SFC semi-finals
The likes of Bernard Brogan, Kevin McManamon and Mossy Quinn will be on show in Parnell Park this evening.

St Oliver Plunketts v St Judes, Parnell Park 3.30pm

Bernard Brogan (St. Oliver Plunketts)

DUBLIN’S MARQUEE FORWARD has been the main man in the Plunketts attack for quiet some time and he remains capable of winning this semi-final on his own. Plunketts like to drop half-forwards Conor Walsh and Patrick McNulty back into midfield, while Niall Walsh tends to start at corner-forward but also roams out to centre-field.

That leaves plenty of space for Plunketts’ devastating counter attacking style where Brogan and his partner in crime Gareth ‘Nesty’ Smith find themselves two-on-two on the inside forward line.

Brogan kicked four points from play against Ballymun Kickhams in the quarter-final and will take some watching again today.

Bernard Brogan Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Mark Sweeney (St. Jude’s)

One of many county stars from outside the county to play their club football in the Dublin championship is Sweeney, who stars at wing-back for the Antrim senior. The only Saffron to play every minute of action in this year’s NFL, Sweeney is an important player for his club.

His versatility, lightning pace and strength makes him a key player for Jude’s around the middle third. He offers good protection in front of the full-back line while his ability to secure breaking ball provides the likes of McManamon with the ammunition to cause damage at the other end.

Mark Sweeney Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

Gareth ‘Nesty’ Smith (St. Oliver Plunketts)

While Bernard’s brother Alan and cousin James are key players in the side, his fellow inside forward Gareth ‘Nesty’ Smith is a former Cavan footballer and eases much of the scoring burden from the 2010 Footballer of the Year.

Smith, a Dublin native, played a couple of years for the Breffni County since Tommy Carr persuaded him to switch allegiances in 2010.

With the likes of Alan Brogan and Craig Dunleavy providing a sufficient supply line out the field, Smith’s ball-winning and scoring abilities make him an excellent foil for Brogan inside. Add to that Smith’s deadly accurate frees, and you have a highly potent inside line.

Gareth Smith Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

Kevin McManamon (St. Jude’s)

To get a taste of the kind of form the 2014 Allstar nominee is in, he kicked 3-5 in the quarter-final win over the fancied St. Brigid’s, all but a point from play. McManamon revels in the lead attacking role he has with St. Jude’s and his nose for a goal is even more notable in the club championship.

Normally playing at full-forward, McManamon’s scoring battle with his Dublin team-mate Bernard Brogan could be a pivotal one. Playing against a Plunketts team that likes to drop bodies back behind the ball, how effectively he can manufacture space and scoring opportunities could well have a deciding factor on the outcome.

Kevin McManamon with Philly McMahon Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

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St Vincents v Ballyboden St Endas, Parnell Park, 5.15pm

Mossy Quinn (St. Vincent’s)

This St. Vincent’s squad is blessed with natural leaders as they attempt to become only the second Dublin club side to retain the All-Ireland football title. Mossy Quinn is one of those leaders and his absence from the Dublin football squad in recent years has only benefited St. Vincent’s.

One of the best forwards in the club game, Quinn’s knack for goalscoring hasn’t waned in his latter years and you won’t find many in the country more capable of finding the back of the net than the Vincent’s attacker.

With Diarmuid Connolly on the half-forward line and Quinn inside, the reigning champions have two formidable scorers who are capable of racking up big scores.

Diarmuid Connolly celebrates scoring his second goal Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

Ryan Basquel (Ballyboden St. Enda’s)

A prolific scorer who can operate on either the half-forward line or full-forward line in attack, it is anticipated Basquel will play closer to goal today. The young forward has only failed to top score for Ballyboden in one championship game this season – in the low scoring quarter-final win over Lucan Sarsfields.

His younger brother is said to be an even bigger talent, but Ryan has every chance of playing his way into Jim Gavin’s plans with another high scoring performance against the All-Ireland champions today.

Michael Foley and Ryan Basquel Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

Ger Brennan (St. Vincent’s)

He suffered an injury ravaged season where he failed to return in time to play a part in Dublin’s All-Ireland SFC title defence, but Brennan’s return is a significant one for Vincent’s.

A fresh and fit Brennan provides a huge boost for the Marino side and the manner by which he marshaled the defence in their quarter-final win over Templeogue Synge Street suggests that the centre-back is finding his form once again.

Brennan was a big factor in Vincent’s keeping Templeogue ‘s Eoghan O’Gara relatively under wraps and he may be required to provide similar cover in front of Conal Keaney.

Ger Brennan Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

Conal Keaney (Ballyboden St. Enda’s)

The former Dublin footballer currently operates with the county’s hurling side, but remains a serious talent with the big ball. He spent six years with the Dublin football squad, winning five Leinster titles during his time and joins Ryan Basquel and Andrew Kerin in a strong looking full-forward line.

Conal Keaney and Cian O'Sullivan James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Keaney’s strength and scoring ability are huge assets for a club who were seen as predominantly a hurling club until they delivered a SFC title in 2009. In a rematch of the final of the past two years, Boden will look to Keaney to provide leadership in their attack.

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