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Ryan O'Dwyer has returned to full contact training with Dublin to provide manager Ger Cunningham with a welcome boost ahead of the Championship.
O'Dwyer was left with a fractured skull, a broken jaw and bleeding on the brain when he was attacked in a queue for a nightclub in Birmingham in October.
He missed the Allianz Hurling League campaign but featured as a substitute for Kilmacud Crokes over the weekend before returning to full training with Dublin on Tuesday.
"Ryan has got the all-clear and he's been back doing some non-contact hurling for the last two or three weeks," Cunningham explained. "And he got the all-clear to go back fully - so he did his first session (on Tuesday) with us, his first full-contact session.
"I think he played ten minutes for Crokes in a league match last Saturday, but he was back in fully, and back being Ryan O'Dwyer! He gives us that physical presence that we need - it was great to see him back. He was in flying form."
O'Dwyer had been warned it would be some time before he would be ready to return to inter-county hurling, but he 29-year-old is on course to feature for Dublin in the Championship.
"Obviously something like that, the serious injury that he got, I think he took a bit of time out to assess how serious it was. But I think what came through to us was Ryan's passion, his real passion for hurling, and he really wanted to get back," Cunningham said.
"He had to be patient, because the medical people were telling him he had to take a bit of time and it would be towards April/May before he would be back," Cunningham explained.
"But it's a great boost to us now that he's back in now, and he'll be playing club championship next week."