Monday, April 08, 2013
Dublin manager Anthony Daly was naturally delighted after his side secured promotion to Division IA of the Allianz Hurling League with a one-point win over Limerick at Semple Stadium, Thurles on Saturday night.
In a gripping end to the winner-takes-all IB decider, Joey Boland cracked over the winning point for the Dubs, which also hands them a tilt at Tipperary in the semi-final in two weeks’ time.
Although Dublin trailed by just a point at the break, Daly admitted his side struggled in the first half and a half-time speech by their captain played a big part in their revival in the second half.
“It was a struggle. We didn’t deserve to be within a point at half-time, Limerick probably deserved to be ahead by more,” Daly said.
“We had a good chat with ourselves at half-time. Johnny McCaffrey, after being told he was being taken off, stood up and said a few words to the boys even though he must have been the most disappointed man in the dressing-room. Fair play to them, they came out fighting but how you decide a game like that, I don’t know — you need a bit of luck.”
Daly was praised for the decision to play the hugely impressive Liam Rushe at centre-back in place of Conal Keaney, who had been expected to play in the No. 6 role. Rushe was the stand-out player in the game while Keaney failed to reach his usual high standards.
“We don’t get it wrong all the time,”said Daly of the decision. “If Liam had a bad night then people would be saying ‘why wasn’t Keaney there?’ but most of the league Liam had played centre-back. Conal didn’t have a great night but, look, he’ll bounce back because there are big characters on this team.”
Limerick manager John Allen was downcast, describing his mood as ‘bitterly disappointed’, after his side lost the Division IB final for the second year running, having lost to Clare at the same stage last year. The Cork native felt his side deserved a draw from the game and was very disappointed with the number of wides Limerick struck during a first half which they dominated.
“We created enough chances in the first half but too many wides, too much rash shooting and it cost us. I can’t fault the players, they tried very hard, our backs were super in the first-half,” Allen said.
“It’s just very disappointing. Credit to Dublin, both of those teams are good enough for Division IA. It was championship fare really, for 20 minutes of the second-half it was nip-and-tuck, up and down the field.
“I’m just bitterly disappointed. Certainly their ratio of scores to shots in the first-half was better than ours; they had no wides, and that was the difference. We created the chances but if you don’t take those you don’t win.”
Dublin face Tipperary in the Allianz Hurling League semi-final on Sunday, April 21, while Limerick face a fourth straight season in the second tier and are not in action again until the Munster GAA Hurling Championship semi-final against Tipperary on June 9.