Kelly returns to put himself in Dubs' frame
PETER KELLY gave Dublin manager Anthony Daly a lift yesterday when he played the final ten minutes of DIT's Fitzgibbon Cup draw with NUIG.
The Lucan flyer has been sidelined with a minor knee injury and missed all of the college's games in both the third level competition and the Walsh Cup and Shield to date, but came through the final, dramatic throes of yesterday's match without any adverse reaction.
Dublin management recently admitted that the All Star nominee was a doubt for their Allianz Hurling League Division 1 A opener with Galway in Salthill on February 26 due to his almost complete lack of hurling since the turn of the year after picking up the knock in a challenge match against Limerick.
However, he was introduced in the 51st minute of the 1-9 to 1-9 draw in Dangan yesterday and could be given the green light to resume full training with Dublin this weekend, massively bolstering Daly's all-too-scarce defensive options.
Another full-back line regular, Niall Corcoran, has returned to Ireland after a charity trip to Africa and will also be available for the clash with his native county.
Young Hurler of the Year, Liam Rushe, is due to have the cast removed from his broken hand and could also play a part against the Tribesmen, but management have reservations over his sharpness after a month without pucking a ball.
Kelly's introduction coincided with a DIT fightback from four points down against NUIG although it wasn't enough to see them through to the quarter-finals of the Fitzgibbon Cup.
Their defeat to Carlow IT in the first round meant only a win would suffice and after trailing by 1-8 to 0-7 with only a minute of normal time remaining, two David Treacy's frees and a goal from Paul Morris put them on the brink of qualification.
But a late Niall Burke free levelled the match and ended DIT's involvement in the competition.
UCD also suffered defeat yesterday, losing out to a strong CIT team by 1-17 to 0-15. Dublin seniors, Oisín Gough and Daire Plunkett both played the entire match but CIT, powered by Colin Fennelly, Paudie O'Sullivan and Tommy Quaid, eased through.