Liam Rushe admits that Dublin could use some new blood. Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
As Liam Rushe prepares for life as a Dublin hurler under someone other than Anthony Daly, he warns they aren’t for falling away after the extraordinary progress made under the Clare man.
Though there has been no official team meeting yet, Ger Cunningham’s appointment starts to join the dots for the new season and a new era for Dublin.
The Corkman will instead finalise his backroom team before meeting the squad en masse to start work on Dublin hurling’s version of the ‘difficult second album’.
And while Rushe agrees there’s likely to be some change in personnel with a few players “humming and hawing” over their future, he insists there’ll be no excuses for dropping standards.
“I suppose to hear some people say the team is finished… I know there are natural cycles in a team and six years… there is a bit of turnover,” said the Under Armour ambassador.
“But in those six years, I think something like 20 players have come and gone onto the panel since I started in 2009.
“So it’s not like we started with the same 15 and they stayed there.
“But yeah, we’d love a bit of new blood. We’d love some new players pushing for spots and hopefully we’ll get it.
“But it’s a bit early to be talking about the demise of this team.”
Daly’s final season in charge fitted the yo-yo pattern of his tenure where Dublin would follow a strong season with a poor showing the next year.
And after the Leinster Championship breakthrough success of 2013, Dublin fell flat this year.
But Rushe believes an injury jinx saw their season go up in smoke before it ever had a chance to get going.
“There was a bit of a curse alright. (Mark) Schutte was meant to be our main goal threat and we lost him in the first five minutes of the first championship game. That’s tough but you have to roll with it.
“The depth of our panel was properly tested. We got Danny (Sutcliffe) back in time but it’s hard to get back into it in the middle of the championship. He probably broke his hand at the worst possible time.
“And you know yourself Ryan O’Dwyer got sick and he probably didn’t hit form until the Tipp match and it was too late by then.
“That’s the way sport goes and unfortunately we didn’t roll with the punches this year.”
Towards the end of his spell in charge, Daly had one of the most settled starting teams of any of the major hurling sides but Rushe insists there is still more talent to be developed in Dublin.
“It’s never too late for someone to develop and come on the scene. The example everybody uses is – we’d love to turn up a Seamus Harnedy. Every county would. Whether there is or not in Dublin, we’ll wait and see.
“I really enjoyed Donal Og banging on there during the year about how we need new forwards, clean sweep and find new players. I was kind of looking going, ‘What new players could he possibly be talking about?’
“Look, we’ll just try and bring through a few lads from this year’s minor team. They were pretty strong again. The U-21s went well. They were probably a bit unlucky against a good Wexford side. Hopefully we can turn up a few more.”
Cunningham has been handed a three-year term in the capital though Rushe believes Daly might have stayed on had he been offered just another season.
“I suppose the three-year commitment; he might have baulked at that. It’s something we should have done three years previous rather than tacking on a year at the end of every year.
“I’m not privy to negotiations at the top level so it would only be conjecture. But he might have.
“I think it was a huge commitment to give, coming up and down from Clare for six years with a young family.
“So it’s perfectly understandable that he didn’t want to take it on again.
“But I think that was a good idea from the county board, nailing on Ger for three years so he can put a structure or a plan together for that length of time.
“Ger has a lot of experience. He’s been a selector in a few regimes. He’s won All-Irelands, the Hurler of the Year and that so I think he has the necessary experience.
“I suppose it was about time he got a shot at a county job and we’re happy enough it was Dublin.”