THE black injury clouds that have cast a constant dark shadow over the Sky Blue hurling landscape for the past year and more keep lifting.
Last night marked another significant development for Dublin manager Anthony Daly - his so-called ‘Cruciate Three’ all made their playing comebacks in the county colours.
Stephen Hiney, Conal Keaney and Tomás Brady all lined out in last night’s SH challenge against Waterford - the first time they have featured in the Sky Blue jersey since suffering season-ending knee injuries at different stages of last year’s epic campaign.
Details of the hush-hush challenge remain very sketchy, but it’s understand the match finished in deadlock (0-20 each), the three ‘comeback kids’ all played well and, even more crucially, came through unscathed.
It remains to be seen whether Daly will consider starting any or all of this high-profile trio when Dublin open their Leinster SHC campaign against either Laois or Carlow in Tullamore on June 2.
However, the very fact that they are edging ever closer to match-fitness is sure to be a massive fillip for both management and the squad, given how all three would be seen as pivotal members of the team in normal circumstances.
Wing-back Hiney was team skipper before suffering horrendous knee damage in a league game against Wexford in March of last year; Brady was first-choice full-back before tearing his cruciate against Galway last June; while the prodigal Keaney was enjoying a stellar comeback season with the hurlers before he suffered a traumatic motorcycle accident just a couple of days before Dublin faced Limerick in an All-Ireland quarter-final last July.
VETERAN midfielder Ronan McGarrity could be poised for a dramatic return to the Mayo squad. McGarrity’s club form with Ballina, coupled with the ongoing absence of midfield siblings Aidan and Séamus O’Shea, has prompted speculation about a recall, possibly this week on a trial basis.
Five players will make their SFC debuts for Cavan when the Breffni men host Ulster holders Donegal this Sunday. Kevin Meehan, Robert Maloney-Derham, Niall Smith, Jack Brady and Brendan Fitzpatrick have all been promoted by new boss Terry Hyland, having previously featured on Hyland’s successful U21 teams over the past three years. Cavan also welcome back Gearóid McKiernan from injury and John McCutcheon, who has rejoined the panel.
DUBLIN ladies senior football boss Peter Clarke has dropped a double bombshell by axing former All Stars Denise Masterson and Siobhan McGrath from his squad. Masterson (32) skippered the Jackeens to All-Ireland glory in 2010 while McGrath (24) is a two-time All Star defender, and reports suggest that the manager’s decision to release the pair last Friday night has angered other leading members of the panel.
CAVAN (SF v Donegal): J Reilly; P O’Reilly, D Reilly, R Flanagan; K Meehan, J McCutcheon, R Maloney-Derham; D Givney, G McKieranan; F Flanagan, M McKeever, N Smith; J Brady, E Keating, B Fitzpatrick.