Paul Schutte tipped for St Patrick’s Day final return

Cuala defender Cian O’Callaghan has backed captain Paul Schutte to be fit for their shot at AIB All-Ireland club hurling championship history on St Patrick’s Day.

Experienced defender Schutte missed their semi-final win over Liam Mellows due to a hamstring injury and was replaced by his brother Mark.

But fellow back O’Callaghan said his former Dublin colleague is looking good for the March 17 showdown with Na Piarsaigh as they chase back-to-back titles.

“Paul was probably just a small bit off playing against Liam Mellows,” said O’Callaghan. “The rehab, by all accounts, has gone really well. He’s done this in the past when he’s got himself right for big games. So we’re hoping for the same on the 17th.”

O’Callaghan said that the buildup around Dalkey and their south Dublin base hasn’t reached the same fever pitch as last year.

“It’s definitely been a bit more subdued this year,” he said. “Probably the novelty has worn off. But I’m sure behind the scenes there’s a lot of that stuff. But as a player I haven’t seen it and I’m thankful I haven’t.”

O’Callaghan’s younger brother, Con, will once again be the star attraction in attack and will bid for a remarkable fifth All-Ireland win in the space of just 12 months.

He was part of last year’s final win and subsequently won All-Ireland U21 and senior medals with the Dublin footballers as well as a Sigerson Cup medal last month with UCD.

“He was doing the odd kicking session with UCD and showing his face,” said Cian. “It just happened that they qualified (for the semi-finals) and it opened up the opportunity for him to play and he grasped it with two hands. Luckily for him, it paid off and he’s won a Sigerson Cup.”

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