Thursday March 11 2010
TOPPLING the mighty Tipp last time out will count for little if Anthony Daly’s men can’t back up that five-star display by defeating Offaly this Sunday, stresses Dubs forward Liam Rushe.
“If we’re really honest this one could be a real four-pointer in terms of maintaining our Division One status,” says Dublin’s centre-forward and man of the match from the nine-point victory over Tipperary (1-21 to 1-12).
“It’s a seriously tough place to go at any time and everyone is well aware what to expect. It’ll be a major battle but we’ll be ready.”
It’s this kind of attitude which Dublin need to bring to O’Connor Park if they are to find the consistency required to mix it with the big boys on a regular basis.
“Consistency is the key to this league. We can’t survive if we are going to be up one week and down the next,” Rushe adds.
“Our attitude needs to be right every time we go out on to the pitch.
“We have to make sure to put every game to the wire if we want to move on to the next level,” adds the talented St Pat’s of Palmerstown youngster who earlier this week inspired his club to glory in the Dublin (2009) U21 hurling ‘C’ championship final when scoring four points in their defeat of Parnells.
It was not just the victory over Tipp which made people take notice, but more the manner of their victory, as the Dubs outplayed a side that many seasoned observers view as the only real pretenders to Kilkenny’s status as the country’s undisputed number one.
Such a performance against one of the superpowers is most certainly a step in the right direction.
“I don’t want to read too much into the win just yet,” Rushe muses.
“But it’s where we want to be. We all know who the big four or five are.
“We want to be matching ourselves against those teams on a regular basis and beating the likes of Tipp week in, week out.”
That win over the Premier County marked a complete turnaround for Daly’s charges after their abysmal showing against Waterford at Walsh Park in the opening round of fixtures on February 21.
The huge improvement can be put down to many things, but for Rushe it was down to one simple factor: attitude.
“It was all down to our mental state going into the first game. Everyone was taking it for granted that we should beat them (Waterford). To be honest we got a complete schooling. We never reached the required intensity.
“After a few good results in the Walsh Cup we got way ahead of ourselves and forgot just how tough league and championship hurling really is,” states Rushe.
Dublin fans will be hoping that the nature of the collapse against the Déise will not be repeated any time soon and Rushe is very much on the same wavelength after revealing the hurt felt after the defeat. “We knew we had to do something against Tipperary. It was a poor performance (v Waterford) and the last match gave us the opportunity to restore some pride and our dignity,” he adds.
Offaly, who have suffered defeats against Cork and Kilkenny, will be extra motivated to open their account in Sunday’s ‘four-pointer’.
– Diarmuid Geraghty- Evening Herald