DUBLIN hurling boss Anthony Daly believes his side made further progress in 2010 despite their bitterly disappointing championship exit at the hands of Antrim.
Dublin fell at the final qualifier stage this year, having bowed out in the All-Ireland quarter-final stage in 2009, but Daly believes the game’s traditional powers afford the county more respect in light of their recent progress.
“You could sense the difference in the National League straightaway. Every team was up for us,” Daly said.
“I remember playing Cork in Parnell and we were going back out first after half-time and Denis Walsh was roaring the house down inside. The previous year there was none of that.
“The disappointing aspect was that we were inconsistent. We beat Tipp and they weren’t fully clued in. But we played well against Tipp having not played well in Waterford and then went down to Tullamore half-asleep. That was frustrating.
“Looking back maybe there was a bit of second-season syndrome. I didn’t believe in it but maybe there was a touch of that.”
There were bright spots over the course of the season, not least the annexing of the Leinster U-21 title and the impressive win over Daly’s native Clare and the manager underlined his faith in this Dublin side by agreeing to stay on for another three seasons.
He is on the look-out for a new physical trainer after the departure of Jim Kilty, but after the manner of the defeat to Antrim, Daly felt he had unfinished business with the city side.
“I’d hate to walk away after a defeat like the Antrim game. That’s no disrespect to Antrim, they deserved their win, but we didn’t get the best out of ourselves in 2010,” he said.
“We went six ahead (against Antrim) and the football crowd started giving it holly on the Hill and fellas seemed to visibly relax and some of the U-21s like Rushey (Liam Rushe) seemed to tire. We should have closed out the game.
“Jim Kilty is not with us any more. We’re looking at a few people and we’re going to make (training) a bit more dogged. Jim was superb but we’re going to demand a bit more and hopefully that will increase the mental toughness too, which is needed.”
Daly hasn’t given up on the idea of a dual player lining out for Dublin in 2011 in light of how Eoin Cadogan performed for Cork’s hurlers and footballers this year, but agreed it places a lot of strain on the player.
“In fairness to Pat Gilroy last year he was open to the lads doing both, but the lads themselves didn’t feel they could do that. I know Conal (Keaney) felt he’d do nothing if he tried to do both and I can understand that.”
– Donnchadh Boyle