IT was always known they were going to play some role in Tullamore tomorrow evening, but now it’s official – Dublin’s ‘Cruciate Three’ are back in business.
Tomás Brady, Stephen Hiney and Conal Keaney have all been included from the start for the Sky Blues’ Leinster SHC quarter-final against Laois (throw-in 5.0).
Manager Anthony Daly had clearly intimated that his long-stricken trio would make their competitive comebacks this weekend, although it wasn’t spelled out whether they would actually start or not.
However, Daly obviously feels there is more merit in getting as much game-time as possible into three key players who have spent countless hours in rehab, the gym and more recently on grass as they battled back from serious knee injuries.
Tomorrow will be Hiney’s first competitive Dublin outing since their league game against Wexford in March of last year.
Brady is making his comeback at the same O’Connor Park venue where he tore his cruciate while battling for possession with Galway’s Joe Canning last June.
Meanwhile, Keaney’s last county outing was the 2011 Leinster final against Kilkenny – his season was ended in a motorcycle accident, just two days before the Dubs faced Limerick in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final.
Brady has been named in the slightly unusual position of corner-back, with All Star nominee Peter Kelly remaining in his adopted full-back role, although it’s conceivable that the duo could swap locations before throw-in.
Hiney is named in his customary right-half back position, while Keaney is listed at left half-forward.
While the ‘Comeback Kids’ will generate most debate ahead of tomorrow’s clash, the game also marks a significant milestone in the career of Danny Sutcliffe.
The St Jude’s clubman will be making his first SHC start – at right half-forward – having come off the bench during last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final in Thurles.
Sutcliffe subsequently established his starting credentials with some standout displays during the Allianz Hurling League, frequently catching the eye even as Dublin suffered demotion from Division 1A.
David Treacy – another Dub bedevilled by injury in recent years – makes the cut at left corner-forward. David O’Callaghan, who endured pneumonia and then the death of his father during a difficult spring, is named among the subs. Alan McCrabbe was not considered for selection after aggravating his shoulder injury in training earlier this week and he joins fellow injury victims – Ross O’Carroll, Paul Schutte and Martin Quilty on the sideline. Ryan O’Dwyer is currently suspended.
DUBLIN (SH v Laois): G Maguire; N Corcoran, P Kelly, T Brady; S Hiney, J Boland, M Carton; J McCaffrey, S Durkin; D Sutcliffe, L Rushe, C Keaney; P Ryan, C McCormack, D Treacy. Subs: A Nolan, P Carton, D Curtin, E Dillon, O Gough, S Lambert, N McMorrow, M O’Brien, D O’Callaghan, S Stapleton, R Trainor.
Frank Roche – Evening Herald