Daly keeps faith with skipper McCaffrey

Dublin hurling manager Anthony Daly has confirmed that Johnny McCaffrey will once again captain his team in 2012.

McCaffrey took over from Stephen Hiney last season and led Dublin to their first league title in 72 years when they beat Kilkenny in the final last May. Daly said he saw no reason to change after last year’s success.

The former Clare captain and manager appreciates that matching or even bettering last year’s achievements will be challenging but detects an atmosphere around his camp that suggests they want more.

“I can tell from the boys the work ethos is every bit as good as last year, if not a bit stronger. What I’d like to think is that they’ve got a taste of success and can drive on and want more of it. So far so good. We’ll know more on Sunday evening,” he said.

A debilitating injury list is slow to clear, with Conal Keaney, Hiney and Tomas Brady ruled out until later in the summer. Brady had a slight setback recently that cost him 10 days but remains on course for an end of June return. More imminent, however, is the return of David Treacy, who has been blighted with a terrible run of injuries over the last two years.

According to Daly, he could feature against Galway in Pearse Stadium on Sunday — Dublin’s opening game as they put their league crown on the line.

“We’ve been treating him with kid gloves. But he has couple of good DIT games under his belt and bits of challenge matches and training with us,” Daly said.

Daly says Treacy’s run of bad luck with injuries has been cruel.

“First of all, he did the hamstring in the middle of 2010. Then before the All-Ireland U-21 semi-final, he did the cruciate ligament in training. He got back last year and did the hamstring again. Then he came back again and he would have played the All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary but he played a 20-minute game and after a long warm up, it was like there was a sniper on the roof of the hotel in Castleknock (when he tore the hamstring again).

“We did all sorts of scans and all sorts of long-term things to build up the thing. He followed a specific weights programme for the winter and a specific stretching programme that was crucial for it. He really knuckled down. He has worked his way back but you would always be afraid of that injury recurring.”

Daly admits the shape of the new league leaves no time to draw breath.

“Every day is is going to be flat to the boards. If you win two games you can’t make five changes for the third game just for the sake of it,” he said.

- Colm Keys – Irish Independent

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