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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Shock as Schutte is live option to face the Cats

Mark Schutte
Mark Schutte

Mattie Kenny faces a number of interesting selection decisions ahead of his first Championship match as Dublin manager at Nowlan Park next Saturday (7.0).

And Mark Schutte, who hasn't played hurling for Dublin in close to three years, could now be a live option for Kenny when Dublin take on Kilkenny in the opening round of this year's Leinster SHC.

The Cuala forward hasn't lined out for the hurlers since July 4 2016, when the team - then managed by Ger Cunningham - exited the All-Ireland championship in a three-point qualifier defeat to Cork.

He spent the last two summers in Jim Gavin's Dublin football squad, although playing opportunities were at a premium having joined the panel late after winning an All-Ireland club hurling title with Cuala in each year.

After deciding to rejoin the hurlers for 2019, Schutte has been dogged by a lingering foot injury and underwent surgery eight weeks ago, leading Kenny to issue a cautious injury update on the player at last Friday's launch of Leinster Championships.

However, despite having played no part for Dublin so far this year, Schutte could now play some part at Nowlan Park.

Challenge

In what has been a mostly settled defence this year, Kenny must decide which of Daire Gray, James Madden or Bill O'Carroll lines out alongside Eoghan O'Donnell and Paddy Smyth, in light of the ongoing absence of Cian O'Callaghan.

Liam Rushe will start in attack, having missed the last two matches of Dublin's League campaign due to a hand injury.

Fitness permitting, Eamonn Dillon, Danny Sutcliffe and Oisín O'Rorke will also play up front while David Treacy has shown strong form in recent challenge matches and may also be in line for a start.

However, Kenny is likely to resist the temptation to throw Conal Keaney directly back into the team, having missed all of the League following shoulder surgery.

Cody, meanwhile, is certain to be without Eoin Murphy, Conor Delaney, Cillian Buckley, James Maher and Richie Hogan and could give Ballyhale Shamrocks forward Adrian Mullen his senior debut.

Huw Lawlor and Joey Holden are both in contention to replace Delaney at full-back alongside Paul Murphy and Tullaroan's Tommy Walsh, who is also set to make his Championship debut.

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