herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

future is up in the air - Daly

Dublin boss to delay decision on reign after dispiriting Tipp defeat

TO be strictly fair to Anthony Daly, he answered the question with as much honesty and consideration as he could muster after such an emotionally draining afternoon.

"I'm a good while there now," he said, sullen and soaked after a defeat which right then and there, as Daly leaned against the wall in the tunnel underneath the New Stand in Semple Stadium, seemed as though it might have unspooled all the progress of last season.

"I don't know. We would have to give it long, hard thought.

"I suppose everyone involved in that dressing-room will be thinking about that.

"You come into a game like today's and you're not thinking like that.

"You're thinking about how we're going to win the game. That's the full focus.

"We won't make decisions like that now.

"We'll take a few weeks now to clear the head and think about things and evaluate the situation and that's what I'll do."

He's done it before.

After the 2012 loss to Clare in Ennis, one that felt similarly like the closing chapter of his term, Daly went off and thought about whether there was any point in him coming back.

He considered whether the team would be better served by another man in charge.

He sought the opinions of the players and he asked the county board what they thought.

If, as he says, Daly goes through the same process now, he's unlikely to find too forceful resistance from either the panel or the officials.

Dublin isn't exactly brimming with high-achieving, highly-motivated, highly-experienced hurling managers for the county board to seek out.

And the players have stated their admiration for Daly so often, it's implausible that they would prefer change.

The feeling, clearly, is mutual.

"It wasn't for want of effort," he said in attempting to identify reason for a summer that will be defined by heavy defeats to hurling's elite, a category into which Dublin can no longer claim occupancy.

"There's a fantastic integrity in that dressing-room with that bunch of men. They're fantastic to work with. It looked so promising below in Wexford but it just hasn't kicked on from that.

"I suppose everyone has to look at themselves to see the reasons why."

So it will surely come down to Daly himself.

There's question marks, too, forming over the heads of some players.

Stephen Hiney considered retirement last year and is likely to do so again now.

Conal Keaney is 32 and has a young family. Niall Corcoran is 33. Michael Carton and Dotsy O'Callaghan will be 30 next birthday.

Yet it's been notable these past few years how so few players have made the breakthrough into Daly's team.

In this, you have to have sympathy for the Clareman.

tradition

When asked as to how well equipped or otherwise Dublin were to deal with the harsh realities of being a county attempting to challenge for the big time without the benefits of tradition or history, Daly pointed out how this year's Under 21s made their Leinster final "minus all the lads that went at minor level".

"Four of their forwards went off footballing," he pointed out.

"What do you do, like? Do you give up hurling? And everyone concentrate on football and winning All-Irelands? Or do you keep going? And I'd like think they keep going."

They will. Eventually.

But you could sense their pain coming off the pitch in Thurles yesterday.

More than even they might admit, the Kilkenny result in the Leinster final - or to be more accurate, Dublin's own performance therein - appeared to deflate this team.

"A heartbreaking performance," is how Carton described it afterwards.

"All the training we did, you think you're ready and we just didn't show up again. That's two results in a row."

"You think your preparation's all done, but you have to go out and want the ball.

"And we didn't want the ball enough out there. The Tipp lads out-fought us for every ball and it's just not good enough.

"That's the second result in a row and it's just very disappointing.

"We had the preparations done and you're ready to hurl but you have to hurl when you cross the white line.

"You can have all the gimmicks in the world but you have to want the ball enough. We were dropping simple balls out there. It's disappointing."

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