In what looks set to be one of the most competitive All-Ireland club hurling finals in years, both Cuala and Na Piarsaigh will have been hopeful of arriving in Croke Park with a full complement.
This was not the case for the semi-final with both sides starting without key players.
Shane Dowling was deemed unfit to start Na Piarsaigh’s semi-final clash with Slaughtneill due to a knee injury. He did, however, make an appearance from the bench for the Limerick champions.
Dowling went on to have a crucial impact on the game, the Limerick ace was involved in a number of important plays and of course scored a wonderful goal.
For the reigning All-Ireland champions Cuala, centre-back and former Dublin hurler Paul Schutte played no part in their semi-final victory over Liam Mellows.
Schutte, whose brother Mark is also a key component of this Cuala side, missed the game with a hamstring injury.
Star defender Cian O’Callaghan believes that the experienced teammate should be fit to return for the final.
“Paul was probably just a small bit off playing against Liam Mellows, 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.”
Not only will Cuala supporters be hoping to see Paul line out when these sides clash, but most neutrals also will.
It’s bad news for Na Piarsaigh however, both Tommy Grimes and Conor Boylan have had their suspensions upheld.
Both Grimes and Boylan were red-carded for off the ball incidents last time out.
The duo will be a huge loss to their side as both have proven to be of massive importance in the road to the final.
Kevin Daly, Pundit Arena