Article Source: thedubhub.ie, Cian Murphy
Dublin GAA fans need to rally behind the hurlers
There are very few occasions in the life of any athlete when they get the chance to make real history. But this Sunday at Croke Park is one such occasion for the senior hurlers of Dublin. By now everyone knows it’s their first league final in 65 years and they are looking for their first league crown since 1939. They’ve done well not to drown under a tidal wave of goodwill. But when it comes to making history reaching a final won’t be enough and they must win to ensure their place in the record books. Credit is due to Anthony Daly and his Dublin team because all week they have fronted up to this cold fact. They have talked the talk about not wanting to merely make the final. But walking the walk against Kilkenny on Sunday will be a different matter.
At a glance, Kilkenny are without a frontline of some of the best hurlers of this or indeed any generation. But lest anyone think this makes the job very easy for Dublin, they would do well to remember that Brian Cody has never sent out a half hearted or ill-prepared team. He has an insatiable craving for success and titles which has been the foundation upon which his phenomenally talented team has been built. Kilkenny players will be thrust a jersey on Sunday and told it is up to them to hang onto it and they will hurl as if their lives depend on it. But what should give Dub fans heart is the fact that passion will not be in short supply in sky blue ranks.
[box]By far the most impressive feature about Dublin’s march to this final is the way that setbacks have brought the best out of them rather than cripple them as in the days of old. [/box]
By far the most impressive feature about Dublin’s march to this final is the way that setbacks have brought the best out of them rather than cripple them as in the days of old. Three sucker punch goals against Galway in the Walsh Cup semni-final provoked a spirited Dublin response and the next score every time. They came from behind to draw with Waterford, survived an onslaught to beat All-Ireland champs Tipp, came from behind to slot over three points in injury time to draw with Kilkenny, went to Cork needing a win and getting the desired result. There is a steel and resolve and determination to this Dublin team that has not been there before. Allied to this is a level of talent and crucially a strength in depth that has catapulted them into the role of title challengers.
Dublin can win this league final – not becuase Kilkenny are without Shefflin and others – but because Dublin are good enough to win. But they need to hurl with the conviction and tenacity that got them here and do it for 70 plus minutes. It’s a job that would be made easier if they had a strong support urging them on. Earlier this week Dublin ticket sales were reportedly slow and disappointing. Maybe it’s a hangover from the fall of the footballers. Maybe there’s a lack of belief among the Dublin GAA public.
But this Dublin hurling team is a side of genuine quality and ability and deserve the Capital’s support. Much has been made of the Dub footballers ability to pick themselves up from setbacks and try again harder than ever -which, of course, is true. But it’s nothing compared to the endeavour that has been made by the Dublin senior hurlers to make a breakthrough. They do not deserve the indifference of their native city. They have played with grit and grace in equal measure and are a team the city should be proud of. Dublin GAA people should make a stand and make their presence felt at Croke Park on Sunday. It’s the least Anthony Daly’s men deserve.