Joe O'Connor and Theo Clancy. INPHO
Young Guns

Which emerging players can carry Kerry and Dublin rivalry into a new phase?

The jerseys stay the same but the players are ever-evolving. Here we look at three from each side that maintain the great Kerry-Dublin rivalry through.

Tonight – Division 1 football league

  • Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, 7.3opm, (Live TG4).



1. Dylan Casey (Austin Stacks)

Was something of a surprise inclusion for the Munster final last May. That was his first start for the Kingdom, against Clare and he scored a point and set up a goal. Was on the county U20 team in 2020 that won a Munster title and he has been floating around the panel ever since.

For his club Austin Stacks, he was a very young captain to be lifting the county title in 2021 when he showed up well in a series of strong performances. Is putting tremendous pressure on established defenders for a starting berth come the summer.

2. Joe O’Connor (Austin Stacks)

For a couple of seasons, Kerry have been looking for deeper cover in midfield. O’Connor, from Austin Stacks as well as it happens, is seen as one who could man the berth for a decade.

Injury struck however with an ACL injury at the tail end of the 2022 season.

It seems funny to be talking about a player full of potential for the future when O’Connor lifted Sam Maguire as captain in 2022 despite not having ever started a game for the county, just another quirk of fate in the way Kerry dish out the captaincy.

In a time of change around the middle for the Kingdom, he could  be set for an extended run.

3. Cillian Burke (Milltown-Castlemaine)

Was around the middle last autumn for Milltown-Castlemaine’s county intermediate title winning before they lost the Munster club semi-final against Cork’s Cill na Martra.

cillian-burke Cillian Burke. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Those performances brought him under even sharper focus for Jack O’Connor.

For now he may not have the heft for a centre-field role at county level, but he has plenty about him as he made his bow at wing-forward against Derry.

He followed that up with a goal against Monaghan in Clones and a good all-round display against Mayo last weekend.

Has a big frame that when he fills it out, will be hard to stop. But for now his skills are well developed and he doesn’t turn 21 until later this summer.




1. Ross McGarry (Ballyboden St Enda’s)

At 24 years of age, the Ballyboden St Enda’s man is nobody’s idea of a callow newcomer, but he looks as if this is the time to establish himself during this league.

He’s been on the panel for a few seasons and was one of the new faces ushered in by manager Dessie Farrell in 2022. Previously McGarry was on the Dublin U20 team that contested the 2019 All-Ireland final.

Perhaps less inclined to recycle ball than some of his colleagues, his performances have been growing. He started against Monaghan and nailed 0-2, with a point from a mark.

He was wing-forward against Mayo, but his most impressive performance was the 0-3 against Roscommon last Saturday night.

2. Theo Clancy (Kilmacud Crokes)

The youngest of the new breed at 20, Clancy has been exposed to a high standard of club football with Kilmacud Crokes, coming into a winning team and playing on the All-Ireland winning side. In time, he could be seen as the replacement of Michael Fitzsimons who turns 36 this April.

Clancy showed his potential in limiting Danny Tallon to a single point from play in a difficult All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Glen in Newry.

Since then, came on as a sub with three minutes to go against Monaghan in the first league game, before starting against Mayo and Roscommon. Could he be on David Clifford tonight?

3. Greg McEneaney (Skerries Harps)

A latter-day Bryan Cullen. From the same club, Skerries Harps, with broadly the same build, he shares the exact same attributes that made Cullen such a beloved and trusted Dub.

Floated in and around the panel last year but essentially, was let off to do his thing with the county U20 team. Captained that side, so is clearly leadership material in the eyes that matter.

greg-mceneaney-dejected Greg McEneaney. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Made a couple of appearances in the O’Byrne Cup and started the opening league fixture against Monaghan. He then came on for John Small to close the game out against Roscommon.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel