Tuesday 25 October 2016

Boston dawn of new season for Dubs

Ger Cunningham relieved to have finally appointed two new selectors for 2016

Dublin hurling manager Ger Cunningham
Dublin hurling manager Ger Cunningham

Dublin begin their 2016 preparations on Sunday in Boston's iconic Fenway Park, playing an 11-a-side match against a currently manager-less Galway team.

But it's been an important week in the preamble to Ger Cunningham's second season in charge for more reasons than that.

On Monday, Cunningham's two new selectors were ratified by county committee, bringing an end to a four-month identification and recruitment process, though he hasn't ruled out expanding that group "if the right people become available," in the future.

Cork native Patsy Morrissey - a selector with Cunningham with the Rebels in 2004, '05 and '06 and an All-Ireland winning manager with Newtownshandrum - has agreed to come on board, as has former Dublin hurler - and briefly, footballer - Liam Walsh.

"Patsy brings a lot of experience," Cunningham explained.


"Great experience but also a winning mentality, having been involved with Cork before but also being the main man with Newtownshandrum when they were successful in Cork, Munster and All-Ireland club Championships.

"So he has great experience and winning experience as well. Which is important. So I'm delighted to welcome him on board as well."

"We get on well together."

Cunningham admitted that having a Dublin born selector as part of his management team was important to him and thus Walsh's appointment, welcome.

"Having had a bit of time in Dublin, you research and speaking to the people I spoke to, Liam's name was mentioned to me," he outlined.

"And I'd have known him too, having played against him years ago.

"Again, like anything, he was recommended and I talked to him, I met him a few weeks ago.

"He packed up hurling when he was 28. But he's very well respected in Dublin."

Of the process, Cunningham elaborated: "This year, we just reviewed the situation. And for different reasons, we changed things around in the backroom team.

"But I'd like to thank (last year's management team) Gearóid (Ó Riain), Shay (Boland) and Ed (Coughlan), all of whom gave great service last season."

In addition, former Dublin minor selector, Ciarán Maguire of Ballyboden, has agreed to look after logistics in 2016.


A panel of 26 travelled to Boston today, though Cunningham is currently without his Cuala contingent and his Ballyboden dual players, both of whom remain involved in the respective Leinster club championships.

"We would always be looking at improving the panel and evolving the panel," he explained of the potential to refresh last year's group.

"Looking at what players we can look at bringing in.

"At the middle of last year, we brought in a few younger guys that we thought we would be looking at this year.

"They'll now be seriously looked at. And people who put their hand up in the club Championship as well.

"So you're looking at about eight or nine fellas to bring in to look at and then we'll finalise the panel from that."

Speaking ahead of Sunday's AIG hurling classic, Cunningham conceded: "The opportunity to play in Fenway Park is phenomenal.

"It's one of the great places that people mention when you think of great old stadiums.

"So there was great excitement it was mentioned as a possibility and fair play to the county board and to AIG for making it happen.

"It's great at this time of the year," the Corkman concluded, "to get this time with the players."

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