Anthony Daly’s side openly targeted a league final spot last year only for it all to go wrong, but in 2011 they have seemingly turned the corner.
Last year’s championship loss to Antrim inCroke Park when they seemed in control hinted at a brittleness in the squad, but the manner of their draw against Kilkenny and the come-from-behind win against Cork in Pairc Ui Chaoimh at the weekend suggest those days are over.
And that Daly has managed this without a number of established players makes the feat all the more impressive, with the Dublin boss recently admitting that the enforced changes to his side could prove to be a “blessing in disguise”.
Only a couple of years ago, Dublin would have been stretched without the likes of Stephen Hiney, Liam Rushe and Joey Boland, but they have a range of options in each line of the team.
The capture of dual star Conal Keaney was a huge boost and he made a blistering start to the league campaign on his return to hurling. And even when the Ballyboden man’s form slipped towards the end of the league others like Paul Ryan and David ‘Dotsie’ O’Callaghan took up the scoring slack.
The acquisition of Tipp native Ryan O’Dwyer has also given them a new physicality in the forward line, 2009 All Star Alan McCrabbe came off the bench against Cork, while Daire Plunkett looks like a real find.
Kilkenny await in the league final (the Dubs’ first appearance in the decider in 65 years) and while the championship will be another step up for the county’s new faces, right now, Dublin are sitting pretty
Donnchadh Boyle- Irish Independent