The Dubs impressed in patches when seeing off Wexford by five points last Sunday week but the Na Fianna clubman is optimistic that his side will show greater assurance in four days’ time.
“I think there are lots of areas to improve on from our display against Wexford and while I was very happy with our application and effort, our touch wasn’t what it should be and will need to be better the next day.
“We were definitely apprehensive before the game and there was a bit of rustiness to our play. But having that game will bring the lads on a fair bit and I’m sure we will see a more polished performance on Saturday,” said Fanning.
What challenge Kilkenny present at the weekend is largely unknown, although very few teams that come out of the county lack the required standard of skill and competitiveness.
The exploits of Kilkenny CBS and St Kieran’s in reaching this years’ All-Ireland Colleges Final reflects the underage strength of hurling in the county and Fanning expects a stern examination for his side on Saturday.
“To be quite honest with you, I know very little about Kilkenny because all our focus up until this point has been on the Wexford game.
“I know Kilkenny haven’t played too many challenge games over the spring but the colleges thing is a huge boost for them as a lot of their panel have been involved in competitive matches over the spring.
“It will be hard going down to their own back yard but the lads will benefit from beating Wexford away so hopefully that experience will stand to them,” he said.
Another positive from the Dublin perspective is the valuable game time that the likes of Chris Bennett, Eoin Ó Conghaile and Shane Barrett enjoyed, having entered the Wexford tie with fitness concerns.
All three were part of the Dublin panel that succumbed to Kilkenny at the semi-final stage last year and that will hardly harm their chances, motivation-wise on Saturday.
“It was great for some of the lads to get that match under the belt and although the standard wasn’t exceptional, that should benefit us as opposed to Kilkenny, who are facing their first day out.
“I think it’s an advantage to us that we have played previously and last year we feel we didn’t perform to our potential against Kilkenny and we will be determined to put that right on Saturday,” concluded Fanning.