'Decision making let us down' - Dublin hurling manager Ger Cunningham
'We will carry lots of positives from NHL'
GER CUNNINGHAM admits he was "disappointed" at Ross O'Carroll's decision to drop himself off the Dublin senior hurling panel and sees no potential for repatriation this year.
"We got very little indication that he was thinking that way," admitted the Dublin manager at yesterday's launch of the Bord Gáis All-Ireland under-21 hurling championship.
O'Carroll, who began the League in Cunningham's first 15, faded somewhat from view towards the latter stages of spring, starting his last game against Galway in Parnell Park on March 22.
Having struggled with osteitis pubis for much of his senior career, Cunningham explained that O'Carroll had suffered nothing more sinister than "niggling injuries," since January.
Cunningham accepted the explanation that he was prioritising Kilmacud Crokes Dublin SFC clash with Ballyboden St Enda's on June 6 - just a week after Dublin's Leinster SHC opener with Galway - stressing that O'Carroll was "very focused on club. I was talking to fellas afterwards and it means a lot to him."
That wasn't the only bad news Cunningham was asked to reflect upon yesterday.
Niall McMorrow - a player who could accurately be described as Dublin's 'find' of the League, despite his presence on the Dublin senior panel for the past four years - is out of the Galway match with a thumb injury and is likely to miss more Championship action too, with Cunningham estimating his period of absence at "four to six weeks".
"It was just an injury to the tendon that holds the thumb in place," Cunningham outlined.
"He has done some damage to that. He's going in to see the specialist this morning but he has been ruled out for the next couple of weeks at least."
McMorrow replaced O'Carroll at half-time in that Galway match and retained a spot in midfield for both the Limerick victory in the League semi-final and the Cork collapse in the semi, forging a new, well-balanced and highly-functioning partnership with Johnny McCaffrey.
"Since the Galway game in the League, he has settled in really well," Cunningham outlined.
"He played very well against Limerick and he played very well against Cork. He really put his hand up for a position so it's disappointing for the player himself.
"Niall has been trying to establish himself for the last couple of years. Probably was more renowned as a corner-forward.
"He played a couple of club matches at midfield and we just said we would give him a go there.
"But hopefully his season won't be over. Hopefully he'll be back.
"The danger is that if you leave it go, it could develop into something that would be harder to fix later on.
"It looks like he needs an operation to put back the tendon.
"Hopefully it will only be four to six weeks."
Reflecting on the defeat to Cork in Nowlan Park where Dublin led at one stage by 12 points, Cunningham reasoned: "It was going to be a situation where Cork would get a run at us.
"They had the wind. They were going to come.
"And I think again, it was our decision-making. We had some bad wides.
"I think for 50 minutes, we did play really good hurling for a lot of the game," Cunningham added.
He rejected the contention, however, that much of the confidence built up during the League had been eroded with that defeat.
"No. Not at all. I've been saying all along. We're only looking for consistency.
"Ok, you'd like to win all the games. But you have to be consistent and get good performances. The League was good for us.
"We got the chance to see some players and for us to get to know them. I think overall, the League was very positive," Cunningham concluded.