Injury concerns for Dublin ahead of Kilkenny test
By Cian O'Connell
Dublin manager Mattie Kenny must plan without Fionntan MacGib, Cian O'Callaghan, and John Hetherton for the early rounds of the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship.
Kenny has confirmed, though, that Mark Schutte is back in light training and may be available for next Saturday's Nowlan Park tussle against Kilkenny.
“Back training now is Conal Keaney, the Mark Schuttes, the Liam Rushes, they’re only back training now. We’re days out from the game now, so we’re trying to see what level we can get them to.”
Schutte's return to training is a boost and Kenny hopes the Cuala attacker will be involved. “But he’s not back in full training," Kenny reveals.
"He's back training. The next couple of weeks will decide whether he’ll be at the level, whether he can see a lot of game-time or not. He has a long-term foot injury that’s causing a lot of problems.”
An ankle issue ensures MacGib is unlikely to be involved in the short term, while Cian O'Callaghan is also ruled out.
“He got a bad hamstring injury against Galway," Kenny states. "He's back running on that, doing light running, but these first early games are coming too soon for him.”
A hand injury has disturbed Liam Rushe, but Kenny reckons the experienced Dublin star will be fit for selection.
“We’d be hoping," Kenny responds. "This hand injury is a concern to him and to us. But Liam is a hardened campaigner. I’m sure we’ll do whatever we can to make sure that he’s available for us.”
Promising Na Fianna hurler Donal Burke isn't expected to feature according to Kenny. “Donal is doing his final exams at the moment, so he’s caught up in exams," Kenny says.
"And he indicated at the start of the year that, after his final exams, he may look at going travelling. At the moment he’s concentrating on finishing his final exams, these couple of weeks.”
Kenny also took issue with how Dublin's approach in the Allianz Hurling League Semi-Final against Limerick was portrayed by analysts. “Every time you play a game, you come up against different teams that play the game differently," Kenny remarks. I’m not really interested in what happened against Limerick six weeks away; I'm looking for what’s going to happen.
“I felt that some people that analysed the game got it wrong. They said Dublin played with a sweeper, which we didn’t. We tried to keep our half-back line in place, but Limerick pulled their full-forward way out to midfield and beyond.
“In any game, even teams in the past, you don’t necessarily see your half-back line playing above in your half-forward line. So, if they sat in that position, that doesn’t make them sweepers, that’s just they’re holding their positions. But, as I say, I'm not interested in looking back.”