GAELIC GAMES: NO BETTER man than Anthony Daly to say it exactly as we saw it – to hit all the pros and cons about this Dublin performance without ever once being prompted.
“Well I’d be a liar if I said the Antrim thing didn’t flash through the head there,” he starts. “Certainly when Offaly came back to two points. You’re saying ‘somebody go up and win a ball or win a free or something . . .’ But fair play to the likes of Peadar Carton there. He could have been sulking there over the last few weeks. He played the first five or six rounds of the league and then didn’t get on towards the end of it. To come in and win three balls and get the goal, that’s what it’s about.
“And we knew as soon as the draw was made that this was going to be a battle. We’re through anyway. That’s the first thing we had to do. We did that, so I’m proud of the lads for doing that. For digging it out. Because we lost concentration at times and that won’t do for three weeks against Galway time but we can work on that now.”
Plenty to work on, indeed – starting perhaps from the back. “Yeah we were makeshift a bit at the back,” admits Daly, “with Joey Boland and Tomás Brady. Losing your two main men like that. I thought the likes of Niall Corcoran and Oisín Gough did a great job.
“But I think the sending off was the signal for our boys to switch off and say, ‘ah, we’ve won it now.’ That’s a learning curve. We have to keep at that and drilling it in. But realistically, that won’t do against Galway, presuming it’s Galway. It’s going to take a performance a bit like the league final with a bit more with it to beat Galway in a few weeks.
“It’s one we’re looking forward to. We’re after talking about it down there. We’re looking forward to it. Embrace it. A chance to get to a Leinster final and an All-Ireland quarter-final. What more could lads ask for?”
Joe Dooley reckons he got everything he could have asked for out of his Offaly team, but unfortunately that just wasn’t enough.
“We are fierce disappointed to lose. We came up here to win, we didn’t come up to make up the numbers and put up a good show, that wasn’t in the game plan at all.
“We conceded a few scores at the start of the game after half time. But the lads hurled to the very end and never gave up and you have to be proud of that. Despite having a huge amount of setbacks this year, between injuries and that, we said we wouldn’t use those as excuses today. Whatever we had going out on the field we believed in them and had confidence in them.
“But fair play to Dublin I would have to give them credit, they were raging hot favourites, we had the initiative from that point of view. They came out and hurled with real quality and got the better of us.
“But we would be hoping for a good run in the qualifiers series to get a bit of momentum going. We are in there with a shout the same as everyone else.”
Article Source: IrishTimes.com