Danny Sutcliffe back in training for Dublin

All Star forward aiming to play some part in Sunday’s Leinster final against Kilkenny

Dublin manager Anthony Daly celebrates the breakthrough  Leinster final win over Galway last summer. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Dublin manager Anthony Daly celebrates the breakthrough Leinster final win over Galway last summer. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

When Anthony Daly talks about a player being “mad for road” that normally means they’re going in the right direction. For Danny Sutcliffe that road is leading to Croke Park and Sunday’s Leinster hurling final showdown against Kilkenny.

Dublin’s All Star forward has been sidelined for the last month with a fractured bone in his wrist, although he may have timed his recovery to near perfection. Sutcliffe returned to training over the weekend, and according to the Dublin manager, should be okay to play at least some part in Sunday’s defence of their Leinster title.

“He did a bit over the weekend alright,” Daly said last night. “He was back to the consultant again (yesterday), and the news is relatively good. The fracture has healed up fairly well. Tomorrow night (Tuesday) is a big night. We’ll probably play a bit of a game and see if he’ll be able for it. So I’d say he’ll be in the 26. He could play some part. Whether that’s a full part, well tomorrow (Tuesday) night and Friday night will decide that really. He’s a huge player for us, obviously.

“But he’s mad for road. He’d tell you he’s fine alright. He goes full out. That’s the way he plays. You nearly have to hold him back. But we’ll certainly give him every chance.”

Number one

The news is not so good for former All Star goalkeeper Gary Maguire who, like Sutcliffe, missed Dublin’s semi-final win over Wexford last month. Maguire still hasn’t recovered from a dislocated thumb, “so he’s definitely out”, according to Daly, which means Alan Nolan will once again wear the number one jersey.

Indeed Nolan may well have held on to the position anyway, given he hardly put a foot wrong against Wexford. At 31, Maguire may have greater experience and yet Nolan – who at 28 has also been a member of the Dublin panel since 2006 – impressed against Wexford, his lengthy puck-outs and composure helping to steady Dublin’s confidence.

“Nowly’s (Nolan) not a greenhorn at this stage,” says Daly. “He’s played in a lot of big games now. He’s mad for this too. He’s bursting to get his chance for ages.”

Kilkenny, coincidentally, will also likely be without their first-choice goalkeeper Eoin Murphy, due to the elbow injury he sustained while saving Galway’s Andy Smith’s effort early on into Saturday’s semi-final replay. Murphy was replaced by David Herity, who is now likely to retain the position.

“Eoin’s injury is a hyper extension of the elbow, and he is probably going to be out for a few weeks,” said Brian Cody who is also set to be without Michael Fennelly (back) and Richie Power (knee).

Cody described Fennelly’s chances as “highly unlikely”, and that there was “not a hope” Power would make it.

Sunday’s showdown is their seventh meeting in six seasons, with Kilkenny winning four to Dublin’s one – and with one draw, last year, when Dublin won the replay to record their first championship win over Kilkenny since 1942, paving their way for a first Leinster title success since 1961. Dublin haven’t won back-to-back Leinster hurling titles since 1942.

Meanwhile Brian Hanley has stepped down as Westmeath senior and under-21 hurling manager after three seasons. His under-21 team lost to Dublin in the Leinster under-21 championship last week, and Hanley quit the job last night.

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