Cuala's hopes of a maiden AIB All-Ireland club hurling final win on St Patrick's Day have been boosted by the return to fitness of Paul Schutte.

Dublin defender Schutte missed the semi-final win over Slaughtneil with a hand injury leaving boss Mattie Kenny concerned for his availability against Ballyea of Clare on March 17.
 
But speaking at Croke Park this afternoon to promote the final, fellow club and county defender Cian O'Callaghan confirmed that Schutte will be back for the showdown.
 
"Paul will be back for Patrick's Day," said O'Callaghan. "He's been unlucky with injuries in the past so it's really good to have him back there. He has a lot of experience. He's a really good player so it's good that he'll be available for selection for the final."

Cuala captain Oisin Gough, left, celebrates the Leinster club title with David Treacy and Paul Schutte, right, at O'Moore Park.
Cuala captain Oisin Gough, left, celebrates the Leinster club title with David Treacy and Paul Schutte, right, at O'Moore Park.

O'Callaghan and Schutte are among a group of Cuala players who have been unavailable to Dublin so far in the Allianz league, partly explaining why Ger Cunningham's Sky Blues have picked up just one win from three and are battling relegation.
 
Efforts to run off the All-Ireland club series before Christmas each year have so far come to nought, leaving a handful of counties, like Dublin at the moment, without their best players for a period each spring.
 
"That's the nature of the GAA calendar," said O'Callaghan. "As I've said before, it's crazy, it's absolutely bonkers and everybody can see that. This is my last year in UCD and I wasn't able to play Fitzgibbon Cup because it clashed (with Cuala's run). I played two matches out of four or five.
 
"It just seems crazy that you can't play for the teams that you should be playing for. I think, moving forward, I think everybody knows that it's probably flawed, and they are addressing it at the moment. But it really does have to be looked at in closer detail.
 
"I was initially going to be the (UCD) captain and then my ability to play for the team was curtailed. So I played the first two matches but I wasn't captain by the end of it. I suppose it's just one of those things, you get on with it. It's brilliant to be here with the club preparing for a really big match in two weeks' time. But it does seem crazy the way it is currently."


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