Sunday 25 February 2018

McCrabbe facing race to be fit for Kilkenny clash

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

DUBLIN'S hurlers have had another serious injury scare less than a fortnight ahead of their Leinster semi-final clash with Kilkenny.

Alan McCrabbe went over on this ankle at training and it was feared he had broken it, but an MRI scan has shown that it is not as bad as first feared.

It forced the Craobh Chiarain star out of a feisty mid-week challenge against Cork in which Ryan O'Dwyer broke his nose, but manager Anthony Daly said he had no worries about the Tipperary native and expects McCrabbe to be back training next week also.

"We thought he was killed (initially)," he said of the McCrabbe incident. "But there is great pliability about him. He'll have to skip the weekend but I think he will be available all right, though he will have missed a bit (of training)."

Dublin's latest injury worry comes as they finally cleared their packed casualty ward that included three cruciate injury victims last season.

But, apart from Martin Quilty and Paul Schutte, they should have a relatively clean bill of health for the first time in 18 months when they take on the Cats.

Dublin's decision to play Cork (in Limerick) on Wednesday night, so close to taking on Kilkenny, indicates just how seriously they are preparing.

Cork won by two points (3-21 to 1-25) but the sides were level after 55 minutes and then rotated a lot of subs in the final 15 minutes.

"Tomas (Brady) played for 50 minutes no bother and Conal (Keaney) played the whole match, even though we popped him in full-forward for the last 15 minutes," said Daly.

"Stephen (Hiney) played every bit of it as well and Dave Treacy played 40 minutes, because we're trying to mind him."

Daly's old Clare team-mate Davy Fitzgerald leads the Banner into battle on Sunday in an intriguing Munster championship clash against Waterford, whom he managed up to this season.

And Daly added his voice yesterday to those criticising the top ticket prices for the game.

packages

Munster have offered a variety of money-saving packages but €30 is the top price for a stand ticket and several people, including Waterford selector Ken McGrath, have criticised that, given the economic climate.

"I think €30 is a bit saucy, you'd imagine €20 would be enough, just to encourage people to be there," Daly (pictured below) said.

"It is an expensive day and, with the match on the telly, you might be able to bring them (children) for lunch and watch the match on the big screen somewhere and that's tempting.

"But, that said, I still really enjoyed the Limerick v Tipp game. There was a real buzz in the crowd, two rivals bringing out the best in each other and that was worth any money.

"I've a slight fancy for Clare," he said of Sunday's big clash. "You can never write off Waterford in championship, they're going to come out fighting.

"After the footballers won last week there's a bit of talk about the two Clare teams getting to the Munster final.

"That's kind of added pressure on Clare but Fitzy knows Waterford well and he knows what he's doing at this stage and will have a few plans up his sleeve."

Irish Independent

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