DUBLIN full-back Tomás Brady will take his spot in the No3 shirt for Sunday’s Leinster SHC semi-final clash with Kilkenny in Croke Park (2.0), just two weeks after it was feared he had suffered a hamstring tear.
The influential Na Fianna man hobbled out of Dublin’s nine-point defeat of Laois in Nowlan Park two Sundays back and initially management were all but resigned to losing Brady, who appeared to pull up with a hamstring strain whilst sprinting.
However, a scan revealed that the damage was actually to Brady’s quad muscle and Dubs boss Anthony Daly was confident that he would make Sunday’s repeat of last summer’s Leinster final.
“We’re hopeful,” Daly told the Herald. “He took a bit of a part in Sunday’s session. That was the first bit that he did. He’s good and fit. He’s in good shape and he has loads of hurling done. It’s just a case of waiting. The fact that it was the quad muscle rather than the hamstring was good news.
“We would be hoping that it’s 60/40 that he would be able to play. We will probably risk him. It’s probably one of those that could go. But it’s looking more positive. After Sunday, I would be a lot more optimistic. It’s getting stronger every day.”
There is further good news regarding the availability of David O’Callaghan, who had been struggling with his own hamstring troubles. The St Mark’s attacker, twice nominated for All Star awards since his return to hurling three years ago, played the opening 25 minutes of the Laois match before he was replaced by management with Kevin Flynn, but Daly described his progress in the interim as “fantastic”.
“He got a great week’s work done since,” revealed Daly. “He has had no reaction and he did every little bit of the training. He played three bits of training matches and he came through them all so he was getting the touch back as he goes along.”
However, there is unlikely to be any Lazarus-like comeback for David Treacy – another hamstring victim. Treacy suffered a grade two tear of the muscle in training three weeks ago and is unlikely to play any part this Sunday, though Daly is hopeful he could make a contribution to the U21s’ cause when they travel to Nowlan Park tomorrow week for a Leinster semi-final clash with Kilkenny.
“He won’t be starting anyway,” Daly conceded. “If he could make the bench on the Wednesday for the under-21 match, that might be a bit more realistic. But he’s making good progress and he’s doing working away himself. It’s a matter of building it up really.”
Kilkenny have their own injury difficulties, though, with 2008 All- Ireland winning captain, James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick set to miss out with a hamstring injury. Fitzpatrick, who missed most of the early portion of last year through illness and injury was expected to reclaim a spot in the Cats midfield this summer after he helped guide Ballyhale Shamrocks to an All-Ireland club title on St Patrick’s Day.
However, his latest setback is set to force Brian Cody into naming last year’s All-Ireland final midfield pairing of Derek Lyng and Michael Rice.
Another September starter; defender John Tennyson, is definitely out with a groin injury, though Richie Power has recovered sufficiently from a damaged finger and is set to take his place at full-forward.
There could also be a first championship outing since 2009 for veteran full-back, Noel Hickey, after a nightmare season dogged by back injury.
– Conor McKeon, Evening Herald