A Cian Murphy Article. Anthony Daly and his brilliant league final winning hurlers have been paid arguably the ultimate possible compliment – being compared to the 1974 football breakthrough of Kevin Heffernan’s Dublin footballers. Senior Dublin GAA officials believe Daly has the power to become the new Kevin Heffernan of Dublin GAA and be an inspiring icon for the game in the city. And Dublin chief executive John Costello says that the landmark league final victory by Daly’s hurlers has the potential to emulate the feat of the Dublin footballers who triumphed under Heffo 37 years ago and rescued football in the Capital.
“Absolutely, this could be the catalyst for Dublin hurling. In 1974 Dublin won the All-Ireland football final and football took off in the county and new clubs were established. This success has the potential to make a similar impact,” says Costello in the wake of the first senior hurling league title for the Dubs in 72 years. “It’s a great achievement but also it completes the spring series for us and justifies the decision to play all our football and hurling league games in Croke Park. It provided a great boost to the hurlers in that they had played there before in front of large attendances and when it came to the league final they weren’t over awed by the occasion whatsoever. It has been a tremendous fillip for all involved in Dublin hurling. “Dublin have been knocking on the door in hurling for a long number of years. There has been a huge amount of work done at underage by clubs and by combined colleges and at underage Dublin have been competing with strong counties and no longer do they fear some of the super powers in hurling. They are used to success, sharing success with them and when it comes to days like this they have been used to success and so they don’t fear any county which is tremendous,” he says.
Dublin have been inching towards this breakthrough with achievements at colleges level and a recent haul of Leinster minor and U21 titles. But a serious senior title has eluded the Dubs since they were Leinster champions and beaten finalists way back in 1961.
In the meantime football rocketed in popularity with the arrival of the magnificent Dublin football team of the 70s under Heffernan – a team that won three All-Irelands and six Leinster championships between 1974 and 1979 and inspired later success in 1983 and 1995. Dublin’s previous support base for hurling was so small that Parnell Park and it’s 10,000 capacity was deemed more than adequate to cater for their demands. But it’s estimated that Dublin made up more than 20,000 of the 42,000 attendance at the league final and their Championship match with Offaly on May 29 is to be switched from Parnell to Croker.
“It’s a great boost to all those people who have been promoting hurling in clubs in Dublin. It might have been seen by some as the poor relation of activity but these people have been toiling away for years and for them it’s a tremendous boost. “We had a tremendous turnout and a vocal Hill 16 and supporters are getting more informed about the Dublin hurling team and a win like this will generate greater interest among fans to come out and get behind them and it has to augur well for the future of Dublin hurling,” added Costello.
Paul Ryan, Ryan O’Dwyer, Conal Keaney, Liam Rushe, Johnny McCaffrey and Tomas Brady have emerged as serious all star contenders with spring finished and the summer stretching out ahead. Anthony Daly gave his victorious squad two nights of celebration on Sunday and Monday and they spend the next week with their clubs before coming back for two weeks intensive preparation for the clash with Offaly. The feelgood factor in Dublin hurling continues with great wins for Shay Bolands minors in the championship against Wexford and for Fingal in the Rackard cup quarter final.
Written by Cian Murphy
Article Source: thedubhub.ie