Dublin minor hurlers face Antrim in their Electric Ireland All-Ireland MHC quarter-final this Saturday (Pairc Esler, Newry, 6.0) determined to bounce back from the disappointment of their Leinster final loss to Kilkenny.
The Dubs were edged out by the Cats at the start of this month in the provincial decider after suffering a nightmare start when conceding two goals in their opening four minutes of the game.
“It’s fair to say that the lads were all extremely disappointed by losing to Kilkenny and conceding two early goals was tough for us to take on the day,” says manager Fintan Clandillon.
“The collective and initial reaction was one of utter dejection as it was a match that we desperately wanted to win.
“However, in retrospect, there were a good lot of positives for us to take from the game and when we sat down and watched it again, both the players and management could derive some positives from it.
“Certainly, from a management perspective, for the lads to recover in the manner that they did from that horror start reflected really well on their character and the experience of playing on a big stage like that will have done them no harm whatsoever.
“Of course, it won’t matter a bit if we don’t learn from that game and take on board those lessons as well but we’re confident that the lads have moved on in the proper sense from the Kilkenny defeat and our focus is now entirely looking ahead to Saturday.”
The young Dubs come up against an Antrim side who have been in impressive form of late at minor and Celtic Challenge level.
“I saw them in the Celtic Challenge final against Cork and I thought they were excellent.
“They played with a huge amount of intensity and have some very dangerous hurlers that Cork were unable to prevent from having a massive influence on the game.
“They were more dominant against Derry in the Ulster (MHC) Final than the final scoreline would suggest and we’re expecting a tough encounter on Saturday,” adds Fintan.