STEPHEN HINEY’S return to the Dublin colours is unlikely to materialise over the next two vital weeks for Anthony Daly’s men, despite a return to action last weekend.
The former Dublin captain underwent an ankle operation over the winter and has only just returned to full fitness. But he scored three points for Ballyboden St Enda’s in a challenge match against Tullamore last Sunday, from his traditional home of wing-back, and will be given the opportunity this week to play his way back into Daly’s starting XV.
However, with a tricky trip to Antrim on the horizon this Sunday, and Limerick just six days later in Croke Park in a fixture that is likely to have serious promotion ramifications, Daly is set to go with his tried-and-trusted from the Walsh Cup and Dublin’s opening league win against Offaly two Saturdays back.
On that occasion, Michael Carton, Liam Rushe and Shane Durkin made up the Dublin half-back line in one of the strongest performing units of the team and are again expected to be given the jerseys on Sunday for the trip to Casement Park.
Maurice O’Brien, meanwhile, is also back in full training but like Hiney, is unlikely to be considered for Sunday.
Daly has set his stall out this year, picking his teams on the basis of form and made only minimal changes to his preferred starting 15 all through Dublin’s successful Walsh Cup run.
The advent of the league saw a raft of college-tied players come back into contention, with Liam Rushe and Conor McCormack performing particularly well against Offaly.
Niall Corcoran, though, could be in line for a start after coming on for the final throes of that one-point victory, having been laid low with his own ankle problems in the weeks leading up to the match. Dublin have picked up no new injuries since the Offaly match and Daly could, if he so wished, name an unchanged side. But the likes of David Treacy, David O’Callaghan and Simon Lambert are all said to be pushing hard for inclusion after being sprung from the bench against Ollie Baker’s men.
Daly expects Martin Quilty to return to full training over the coming weeks as he enters the final stages of his recovery from a cruciate ligament injury sustained last summer, while Ryan O’Dwyer is unlikely to see any significant league time as he continues his own recuperation from shoulder surgery.
Conor McKeon- Evening Herald