ANTHONY Daly has warned Dublin to forget about their Walsh Cup triumph and be ready for an Offaly ambush this weekend.
Daly’s Dubs recorded an impressive victory over Kilkenny last Sunday to win the Walsh Cup for the first time since 2003.
But within minutes of the victory, Daly was turning his attention to their difficult trip to Offaly in Division 1 this weekend.
Last year Dublin beat Tipperary by nine points in the league but were taken apart by Offaly in their next outing, and Daly is wary of his troops suffering a similar fate.
“We’re under no illusions, we are going down to Tullamore next and we went down there last year and were whipped out of it,” he said.
“We know that’s two points in the league we have to fight on our backs for because Offaly will be fighting for everything, so we have to focus in on that and will do that from Tuesday night.”
That victory over Kilkenny, their first in eight years, reinforces the fact that Daly’s Dubs are unbeaten competitively in 2011. In the league they have drawn withMunster champions Waterford and beaten All-Irelandchampions Tipperary. The Walsh Cup run was made up of wins over Antrim, Galway and Kilkenny.
It’s also a mark of the progress that the Dubs have made under Daly, who in his first match in charge in January 2009 presided over a 6-12 to 0-12 thumping by Kilkenny.
Dublin had a 15-point lead at one point last Sunday before Brian Cody unleashed his big guns and TJ Reid and Michael Fennelly whittled it back to three.
With only 18 fit players through injuries and college ties Daly says the best part of Sunday’s win was the manner in which the team fought their way out of trouble.
“The most encouraging thing for me was that when the questions were asked right at the death they dug deep and the likes of John McCaffrey, Liam Rushe and Shane Durkin got on ball and drove forward,” he said.
“I was delighted with that response right at the end. It could have been easy to say ‘right, we are missing a load and they have all their big players on now’ but we said no and kept going and drove up the field and got the couple of scores to win it.”
Daly revealed that although Conal Keaney — the 14-point hero against Tipp — and star defender Tomas Brady were togged out last Sunday, they were held back because of niggling injury worries that he hopes will clear up before Sunday.
“We’d love to have brought on Conal and Tomas but couldn’t, they have two niggles and we couldn’t risk them because the league is the league and hopefully they’ll be right for next weekend,” Daly said.
– Cian Murphy