Dublin appeal McCaffrey red
DUBLIN hurlers are still hoping against hope to have Johnny McCaffrey involved for the start of their Allianz League campaign.
The Lucan Sarsfields clubman is contesting the straight red card he received in Dublin's recent Walsh Cup semi-final against Galway, with a Leinster Council hearing pencilled in for tomorrow night.
If McCaffrey manages to get his four-week suspension overturned, he would then be available for Dublin's NHL Division One opener away to Waterford this Sunday -- and their Croke Park showdown with Tipperary the following Saturday night.
Dublin won't finalise a team until Friday night, partly because of uncertainty over McCaffrey and also because of a few other injury niggles. Wing-back Martin Quilty is a fresh doubt, but there is slightly better news regarding Maurice O'Brien -- who may have a very slim chance of featuring against Waterford, even though he was originally ruled out for four weeks with an ankle injury suffered eight days ago.
Likewise, Ryan O'Dwyer could be back from his shoulder injury more quickly than the original six-week prognosis. He won't be ready this weekend, and is also likely to miss the clash against his native Tipp, but should be fully recovered for Dublin's third league outing away to Offaly (March 6).
KERRY may invite Eoin Brosnan to come out of retirement and help resolve their ongoing problems at centrefield - although reports suggest that the 31-year-old is likely to reject any such overtures. Brosnan hasn't played for Kerry since the 2009 Munster championship but showed his enduring qualities when switched to midfield during the recent Munster club final, almost helping Dr Crokes to turn around a 13-point half-time deficit against Nemo.
UCD hurlers were smiling in defeat yesterday after squeezing into the Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-finals. The Belfield boys lost to Limerick IT by 1-15 to 0-15 but, by limiting the margin to three points, they pipped Waterford IT for a last-eight place by the tightest of margins. Both teams were tied on points and scoring difference, but UCD took second place in Group A because they had scored two more points than WIT.
Elsewhere, DIT crashed out after shipping a 4-13 to 1-13 defeat to Cork IT - a result that saw holders NUIG secure second place in Group B on scoring difference. GMIT topped Group C after recovering from a slow start to eclipse UUJ, 2-16 to 1-10, while DCU finished bottom of Group D after a crushing 4-18 to 1-8 reversal to UCC.
SHEAMUS HOWLIN is staying in the GAA presidential race - for now - although it remains to be seen if the Wexford official will definitely contest the hotseat at Congress in April.
Tipperary's Con Hogan withdrew his candidacy yesterday, in a move that will bolster the prospects of the presidential favourite, Liam O'Neill of Laois.