Former Aussie Rules player Michael Quinn and Abbeylara forward Robbie Smyth will make their league debuts for Longford at home to Offaly in the Allianz Football League Division Three encounter at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park this Sunday (throw-in 2.30pm).
Having returned from Melbourne club Essendon at the end of last season, Quinn made his Gaelic football comeback with Longford this season, starting in the county’s two competitive outings to date, the win against Athlone IT and the defeat against DCU – both in the forward line.
Glenn Ryan, however, as opted to move the Killoe Young Emmets player back into defence against Offaly this Sunday and will start in the pivotal centre back position.
In the first game under the new branding of Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, Longford have had to plan without star forwards Brian Kavanagh (broken bone in his hand) and Francis McGee (hamstring) – both of whom may return for the home game against Roscommon on March 4.
Their absence gives other players an opportunity to shine, with young forward Robbie Smyth making his league debut at corner forward in Kavanagh’s absence. Smyth was on the Longford Under-21 team that lost to Wexford in the 2011 Leinster Final, and he’s joined in Longford’s young-looking line-up by team-mates from that side Colm P Smyth, John Keegan and JJ Matthews, all three of whom featured briefly in senior substitute appearances last season.
The other notable inclusion for Longford is Paul Kelly, who returns after a break from the inter-county scene last season.
Offaly, meanwhile, have made seven changes to the side that lost out to Kildare in the O’Byrne Cup quarter.
Under new manager Gerry Cooney, Walsh Island’s James Gallagher and Rhode’s Shane Sullivan come into defence, with Richie Dalton absent due to a calf injury and Derek Kelly also missing out.
Brian Hanamy has been drafted into midfield in place of Ross Brady, who is absent due to a rib injury. Up front Daniel Currams and Anton Sullivan partner Aidan Keenaghan in a new look half-forward line.
Bernard Allen, who featured for DIT in their extra-time victory over IT Carlow in the Sigerson Cup on Wednesday afternoon, is named in the full-forward line, alongside former Offaly net minder Alan Mulhall and St Sylvester’s, Dublin clubman Nigel Dunne.
David Hanlon is also absent due to a hamstring tear, while Michael Brazil and Rhode’s Niall McNamee have also been ruled out of this weekend’s game.
Throw-in on Sunday is at 2.30pm.
1.Damien Sheridan (Dromard); 2. Peter Foy (Cashel), 3. Barry Gilleran (Longford Slashers), 4. Declan Reilly (Colmcille); 5. Shane Mulligan (St. Columba’s, Mullinalaghta), 6. Michael Quinn (Killoe Young Emmets), 7. Colm P.Smyth (Abbeylara); 8. Bernard McElvaney (Ballymore), 9. John Keegan (St. Columba’s, Mullinalaghta); 10. David Barden (Clonguish), 11. Paul Barden (Clonguish), 12. Paul Kelly (Longford Slashers); 13. Robbie Smyth (Abbeylara), 14. Sean McCormack (Killoe Young Emmets), 15. J.J. Matthews (St. Columba’s, Mullinalaghta).
Substitutes: 16. James McKenna (Sean Connolly’s), 17. Dermot Brady (Longford Slashers), 18. Fergal Battrim (Abbeylara), 19. Noel Farrell (Colmcille), 20. Peter Brady (Longford Slashers), 21. Kevin Diffley (Ballymahon), 22. Donal McElligott (St. Columba’s, Mullinalaghta), 23. Niall Mulligan (Longford Slashers), 24. James McGivney (St. Columba’s, Mullinalaghta), 25. Enda Williams (Clonguish), 26.Martin Brady (Sean Connolly’s).
Kevin Meehan; James Gallagher, Paul McConway, Sean Pender; Brian Darby, Shane Sullivan, Lorcan Hiney; Brian Hanamy, Niall Smith; Aidan Keenaghan, Daniel Currams, Anton Sullivan; Bernard Allen, Alan Mulhall, Nigel Dunne.
Substitutes: Ian Duffy, Graham Guilfoyle, William Mulhall, Derek Kelly, Ken Casey, Ger Treacy, Stephen Guing, Kevin Lynam, John Moloney, James Keane.