O'Carroll and McCrabbe set for Cats clash

Conor McKeon

MISFORTUNE they say comes in threes but maybe good luck also does as dublin hurlers Ross O'Carroll, Alan McCrabbe and Ryan O'Dwyer all look set to prove their fitness ahead of tomorrow week's Leinster SHC semi-final showdown with Kilkenny in Portlaoise.

The trio missed the provincial opener with Laois, but O'Carroll and O'Dwyer played in a challenge match against Cork in Limerick on Wednesday night while a scan on McCrabbe's ankle showed no serious damage had been suffered following a scare in training last weekend.

"Ross came on last night and did fairly well so he's okay," explained Anthony Daly. "McCrabber was fine and was back training at the weekend and just landed awkwardly on his ankle. To be honest, we thought there was a fair bit of damage done.

"We had a bit of a scare with McCrabbe - we thought he was killed but there is great pliability about him. He'll have to skip the weekend but I think he will be available all right. There was talk of a cracked bone. But the MRI showed no crack so we're hoping it holds up this weekend and he's available to take his place one way or another, on the bench or on the team."

O'Dwyer, back from suspension for the Kilkenny clash, was also back in the wars during Wednesday night's two-point defeat to Cork in a high-scoring challenge match (3-21 to 1-25).

"I think Ryan O'Dwyer has a broken nose again. but that won't do him any harm," said Daly, who expects the Tipp native to be fine for tomorrow week.

On Dublin's missing list, however, is cruciate victim Martin Quilty, Paul Schutte and Peadar Carton, who suffered a viral infection and was hospitalised earlier this week.

Schutte (knee) is expected to return to training this weekend but won't be considered for the Kilkenny clash. Daly is poised to play all of the players who missed the spring with their own cruciate injuries - Conal Keaney, Stephen Hiney and Tomás Brady - after they came through the Laois rout and recent challenge games unscathed.

"We were hoping that this would be the scenario," Daly explained. "But we would have loved if they could have had two league games under their belts as well. We got a couple of good challenge matches against Waterford and Cork and the match against Laois.

"You would like a bit more but there is no doubt that all three will benefit as the season goes on. The more time they have, the better they will get."