DUBLIN dreams of reaching a third All-Ireland SHC semi-final in four years have suffered a setback with the news that Paul Schutte is struggling to be fit for Sunday's do-or-die clash with Tipperary.
The first-choice corner-back has been battling a back muscle problem for much of the summer, and the injury flared up again during a practice match on Sunday morning.
Manager Anthony Daly fears the worst but will give the Cuala clubman as much time as possible to try and prove his fitness for the quarter-final clash in Tipp's own Thurles back yard.
"I'd say he's probably out. But we'll give him the week and see," said Daly. "It's just one of those things that needs rest."
To compound Schutte's likely absence, impact sub Niall McMorrow is almost certainly out with suspected medial ligament damage after going over on his knee during the same practice match.
Meanwhile, former All Star 'keeper Gary Maguire is set to miss his third consecutive outing, even though his thumb is no longer in a cast.
There is better news concerning Mark Schutte - Paul's younger brother - who is back pressing for a place on the bench after recovering from a dislocated shoulder suffered during the opening minutes of last month's Leinster semi-final against Wexford.
Opponents Tipperary are confident that former Hurler of the Year Lar Corbett should be fit to start, despite an ongoing knee injury niggle.