Dublin’s new U21 manager Joe Fortune will hope to have as strong a panel as possible available to him as he prepares for the county’s championship bow against Laois at the end of May.
Fortune, who also manages the Dublin Institute of Technology side, enjoys a positive relationship with the Dublin senior hurling management and he feels that is a crucial ingredient if Dublin are to improve on recent disappointing results at this grade.
“There is already a strong and positive communication between ourselves and the senior management, and Clare’s example last year shows how important it is to get that relationship and balance right.
“The correlation between U21 and senior is as strong as it has ever been and having a strong relationship with Anthony Daly, which I do, will be a huge help in relation to accessibility to players.
“There have been some poor results for Dublin in recent times but, having spoken to Anthony, I’m very happy with the prospect of developing the panel in the coming weeks,” said Fortune.
The Wexford native has also confirmed his wish to check the availability of dual players from Dublin’s senior football panel, with Ciarán Kilkenny, Eric Lowndes and Cormac Costello potential additions to Fortune’s squad.
Irrespective of the panel at his disposal, Fortune is well aware of the pitfalls that can affect teams at this grade, especially given the knockout nature of the championship.
Successive defeats by both Laois and Carlow over the past two years reflected a lack of preparation in some regards, but despite the late appointment, Fortune is confident that his management team have sufficient time to ensure their readiness for their championship bow at the end of May.
“We are at a slight disadvantage in that we haven’t been able to do the collective conditioning work that other counties have been doing over the past weeks.
“That will place the emphasis on hurling and hurling alone and there is great anticipation about what the coming weeks will bring, and, from a personal level, I cannot wait to get out there to start working with them,” he said.
Those 2011 and 2012 All-Ireland MHC final appearances have ensured that Fortune will not be short of raw materials in terms of talent, but, as countless recent examples testify, relative success at one grade does not necessarily translate to success at another.
“Those minor panels were superb teams and there’s no doubting the quality that we can look forward to working with.
“However, the jump from minor to U21 can be difficult and it is hard to transfer minor success to a more adult level.
“They’re a seriously talented bunch and our job is to make sure that we get the best out of them.”