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Friday 24 November 2017

Ross returns to Dublin hurlers

ROSS O’CARROLL has rejoined the Dublin hurling panel after a two-year absence.

The Kilmacud Crokes ace has formed part of the football panel since walking away from Anthony Daly’s men prior to the 2010 season but |has resumed small-ball activity and will devote his inter-county services exclusively to the hurlers this season.

O’Carroll made the switch to Pat Gilroy’s set-up a year after Crokes |All-Ireland club football title win in 2009 when both he and younger brother, Rory, were stand out performers in the Glenalbyn club’s rearguard.

But whereas Rory has gone on to form a vital cog in the remodelled Dublin defence, Ross has suffered due to a chronic run of injury.

Diagnosed with a sciatica (a nerve injury of the back which affects muscles in the leg), O’Carroll played just one competitive match for the Dublin senior footballers against Monaghan in March of last year and was confined to bench duties for all of Dublin’s successful All-Ireland run.

Though the injury has not yet fully cleared, he has resumed full training with the Dublin hurlers, following the lead of Shane Ryan and Conal Keaney in returning to Daly’s ranks.

His move comes as a major plus to the hurlers, for whom he excelled as a ball-winning half-forward in the years prior to his cross-code switch.

Already, Daly is facing a familiarly bleak injury picture for the early part of the season with cruciate trio, Keaney, Tomás Brady and Stephen Hiney all set to miss the entirety of Dublin’s Allianz League defence, although the news is slightly better on 2011 Young Hurler of the Year Liam Rushe, who hasn’t hurled since breaking a bone in his hand during St Patrick’s (Palmerstown) Dublin SHC ‘B’ final defeat by Naomh Fionnbarra at the end of October.

The versatile All Star is expected to return in time for Dublin’s league opener in just under seven weeks while management are also hopeful that hamstring victim David Treacy will be fit as he seeks to put an end to a plague of hamstring injuries.

CARLOW’S prodigal son Thomas Walsh has been forced to emigrate to the United States meaning manager, |Luke Dempsey, must plan without |the midfield powerhouse for the upcoming season.

Walsh, who spent a three-year stint playing for neighbours Wicklow under Mick O’Dwyer before returning to his native county in 2010, has left the country due to a lack of employment and is currently living in Boston and thus won’t be around for the visit of the All- Ireland champions, Dublin, to Dr Cullen Park this Sunday for their O’Byrne Cup opener (2.0).

International Rules player Brendan Murphy will be available, as will returning squad members Derek Hayden and Paul Reid – both of whom sat out 2011.

Dublin will name their team to face Carlow on Friday morning, when it is expected a raft of new players will be blooded.

Already, Ballymun Kickhams defender and Dublin minor of the |last two summers, John Small, has made his senior bow when impressing in last Sunday’s Evening Herald/Dublin Bus Dubs Stars challenge and by necessity, more are set to follow in his lead.

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