Dublin made huge progress at senior level this year, losing a Leinster final to a Kilkenny side that were destined for their fourth consecutive All-Ireland title before a slightly disappointing exit at the hands of Limerick in Thurles, and Daly has admitted that he would love to add a few new faces to his side for next year.
“You’d love to be able to get two or three more to make the team. If you could make three changes and were bettering the team with those changes you’d be doing great work,” he said.
“There’s a bit of a question mark about Conal and what’s he going to do. We’d love to have Conal Keaney next year, but the bottom line is it is up to him. He might try to do a bit of both or he might try to throw his lot in with the hurlers — that would be a major lift for us. But that’s down to him.
“We spoke to him last year and he knows my position on it. We haven’t approached anyone yet because they are busy with the clubs, so we are letting the hare sit and see what happens. He gave an exhibition last week against Pat’s — he’s a real natural hurler.”
Daly, who helped Kilmoyley to back-to-back Kerry SHC titles on Sunday, also hopes Rory O’Carroll, along with Ryan, would be available for the coming year. Naomh Mearnog man Ryan is a noted hurler and there has been speculation that he could throw his lot in with the hurlers after losing his starting spot in Pat Gilroy’s side.
“I’m not closing the door on anything. I wouldn’t be for saying that someone like Shane Ryan would come in and we’d be throwing out one of the lads who served us well this year. I’d be for saying, if Shane wanted to have a cut, we’d have a look at him. I’d pick anyone on merit.”
The four-point defeat at the hands of Limerick left a sour taste but Daly was encouraged by his players’ reaction and expressed regret that they didn’t get a chance to face Tipperary.
“In a perverse way it might be a good thing. There would be a bit of a feeling with people involved with the Dublin hurlers over the years that they were never really devastated after losing. And I would have felt a bit of that after the Leinster final.
“The lads were a bit disappointed then but there was real wretched disappointment after Thurles. In some ways coming home I was consoling myself saying ‘they’re getting it here’. This isn’t about getting to quarter-finals, it’s about getting over quarter-finals. And they were gutted. We should have been beating Limerick with the way we started the game, but it’s all experience.
“It was a disappointing end to the year. If you told me beforehand I would have been happy — stayed in Division 1, and got to a Leinster final, beaten by four points in the quarter-final — I would have probably said ‘grand job’. But as the year went along we were hoping to get to the last four.”
Dublin’s progress was recognised this year with a record four All Star nominations in Alan McCrabbe, David O’Callaghan, David Treacy and Stephen Hiney — but Daly felt they should have had a fifth in full-back Tomas Brady.
“I think all four would have merited their inclusion and I think Tomas (Brady) might have been a bit hard done by. I thought he was judged harshly on the Limerick match. In Nowlan Park against Wexford, a match that went a bit under the radar with Clare-Tipperary on the same day, he was immense.
“Stephen Banville was a massive, massive threat and he’d beaten David Kenny, who I rate as a great full-back and Tomas was magnificent on the day. He was good on Richie Power in the Leinster final and he had a good National League. I thought he was very hard done by.”
– Donnchadh Boyle
Tuesday September 29