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Monday 29 May 2017

Cunningham looking for result in Ennis to stave off relegation threat

Dublin manager Ger Cunningham will target a win in Clare. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin manager Ger Cunningham will target a win in Clare. Photo: Sportsfile

The growing necessity of a victory in a place that hasn't offered too many to Dublin over the years wasn't lost on Ger Cunningham.

"No matter what way you come into the League it's difficult," the Dublin manager acknowledged after a late-deflating performance against Waterford drew his team back into the relegation picture.

"We knew we had three games at home. So you'd be hoping to be targeting your three games at home as winnable games.

"Unfortunately we've lost our two here. So maybe we've got to look at going to Ennis next week and get a result."

Helpfully, he noted, Dublin can plan without the debilitating distractions of third level competition now.

Four of his extended squad, including Donal Burke who started on Saturday night against Waterford, played for DCU in their All-Ireland Freshers final win over UL.

"It's the first time we don't have other fixtures dictating who we have in relation to the group we have at the moment," Cunningham explained.

"But again, from match to match, we can't do a huge amount only refresh the bodies and recharge and learn from it."

"We've been going between Fitzgibbon and Freshers and fellas are being pulled and dragged all over the place at this time of the year. It's a tough time of the year, especially with so many young guys on the panel."

While the League has a habit of making fools of those paid to predict, it's highly possible now that Dublin's March 26 clash with Kilkenny in Parnell Park could be a straight shoot-out for a quarter-final spot.

The loser, then, would face the worrying and unpredictable prospect of a relegation play-off.

"All we're focused on is game to game. We've one win, two losses.

Challenge

"We've got to go to Ennis next week and get a win. That's the challenge."

"It's difficult but that's what this League is all about and that's why we want to stay here."

"That's the challenge.

"If we had the mindset that we're going down there without a good record there, we wouldn't go at all.

"That's what we've got to do. That's the big challenge But hopefully the lads will rebound quickly.

"We have to take on the challenge next week and bounce back.

Meanwhile, Cian O'Callaghan says he expects Cuala team mate, Paul Schutte, to be fit to play on St Patrick's Day.

Schutte missed the semi-final win over Slaughtneil with a broken finger.

"Paul will be back for Patrick's Day," his defensive colleague predicted.

"He's been unlucky with injuries in the past so it's really good to have him back there.

"He has a lot of experience. He's a really good player so it's good that he'll be available."

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