ANTHONY DALY is hoping to see Stephen Hiney, Tomás Brady and Conal Keaney play club championship matches in May -- a key indicator as to whether they'll be back for the start of Dublin's Leinster SHC campaign.
While Daly has been dogged by injury traumas during his Dublin reign, he has now delivered an upbeat assessment on his 'Cruciate Trio', who all suffered season-ending knee injuries last year.
Hiney and Keaney have progressed to a stage where they are involved in some non-contact drills, while Brady isn't far behind.
"Tomás had a bit of a setback six weeks ago, but he's back on track and nearly up with the other two. I couldn't be happier with those, touch wood," the Dublin boss revealed.
"We have to be very careful. It's harder on the boys - they are mad to get back.
"But it's been very successful so far, and great credit to the physios and (physical trainer) Martin Kennedy.
"They (Keaney and Hiney) are taking part in non-contact drills. Tomas had gone back three weeks, but he's nearly up with them again through sheer hard work."
Daly saw it as an advantage that three rounds of the Dublin SHC are pencilled in to be played before Dublin open their Leinster campaign against Laois or Carlow on June 2.
The opening club fixtures in late April might come "too soon" but he'd love to see Hiney and Keaney feature for Ballyboden St Enda's, and Brady for Na Fianna, in the following two rounds in May.
"For (the) county championship, you have to be ready for it," he stressed.
"Hopefully, they could play in the two rounds (in May) and, if they could, that would have them in contention for June 2 with the help of God."