Dublin manager Anthony Daly. Picture: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE
CONOR MCKEON – 05 APRIL 2013 10:40 AM
THE journey has been a tad more turbulent than initially but the brass tacks of the Dublin hurler’s year are this: they’re exactly where they intended and, in reality, needed to be when it all began.
“We could really be no further ahead than where we’re at now,” manager Anthony Daly told The Herald on the eve of their Division 1B promotion shoot-out with Limerick in Thurles (7.0).
“From the first of January, we have the Walsh Cup in the bag and in the 1B final. Now, we could be in it from having beaten Limerick along the way … but what advantage that would be going into Saturday night, I’m not sure.”
We say that Dublin are where they wanted to be but in a more literal sense, maybe not.
Daly admits to being slightly “bemused”, when he was informed that the match was fixed for tomorrow night in Thurles, though he understands the needs of live television, even if the scheduling is “far from ideal” for travelling supporters.
“I would just be a little conscious that it is an awkward time for Dublin fans,” Daly explained. “It’s not ideal for them. We’ve had a great bunch of loyal supporters since I took over and I would hope they would find their way to come out and support us again. In fairness, I was a bit bemused when I got it explained to me last Sunday night.”
However, he adds: “For the team, it really doesn’t effect us. You’re cocooned when you’re in the squad. Once you meet up, it’s on. That’s the way I felt as a player. Whether it was the morning of an All-Ireland final or whatever, you’re in your bubble.”
And of Semple Stadium itself, Daly points out Dublin have “good memories, from the last time we played (Limerick) there in the quarter-final in 2011”.
The hurling dogs in the street had Limerick and Dublin down as the two 1B finalists from back before the season began, regardless of the order in which they arrive. And similarly, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that both are a notch above the relative standards of the Division.
“You only have to look at their Championship performances last year,” Daly points out. “They were very impressive for a long time against Tipp.
“They came out against Clare and I don’t think I’ve ever seen John Allen as animated after a game. They really responded on the night.
“Even against Kilkenny, we were sitting there at half-time wondering were we going to witness a massive shock. It was a very good Limerick performance. So if you look at their performances last year, you were thinking that’s a very good Limerick team.”
Daly – like Allen – enjoyed the luxury of resting a sizeable portion of the team he had selected consistently from the start of the year last week as his team belatedly jolted to life to dispose of Carlow in Parnell Park and now, he reflects: “From a management point of view, we felt it was an ideal opportunity to throw a few lads in who hadn’t played a lot and I think they all did fairly well.”
DUBLIN (SH v Limerick): A Nolan; P Kelly, P Schutte, R Trainor; M Carton, C Keaney, S Durkin; J Boland, L Rushe; S Lambert, J McCaffrey, D Sutcliffe; D O’Callaghan, C McCormack, P Ryan.
LIMERICK (SH): N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; P O’Brien, W McNamara, G O’Mahoney; P Browne, J Ryan; C Allis, S Hickey, D Breen; K Downes, D Hannon, G Mulcahy.