herald

Saturday 19 August 2017

Dublin to 'shore up defence' for siege of Ennis

Ger Cunningham and Anthony Nash
Ger Cunningham and Anthony Nash

TOMÁS BRADY "couldn't believe" his eyes when watching his former hurling comrades ripped asunder by Cork last weekend.

Their one-time defensive rock hasn't played for the Sky Blue hurlers since 2012 - but he caught a glimpse of them last Saturday night, as he geared up for the footballers' Division One showdown with Tyrone.

"I saw 20 minutes of their match with Cork and had it taped and watched it back," Brady explains. "It was a strange game. I saw the half-time result and found it hard to believe. Cork were so dynamic and skilful all over the field.

"Dublin had played so well in their opening games, so I don't think anyone saw it coming. But that's the league and all the teams are capable of beating each other. For Dublin to score 1-20 was still a good score to rack up, but I think they will look to shore up the defence heading down to play Clare."

Harking back to his own small ball days with Dublin, the erstwhile full-back admits: "It has been a thing for a while where we had an issue with consistency and we'd have a really good year followed by a poor year. I'd say they are disappointed (with the Cork performance) but it is early in the year. I know they are working on things with the new management and will have learned a lot and are trying guys in new positions."

The Na Fianna man remains completely at ease with his decision to go down the big ball route, even though his starting opportunities have been relatively curtailed until this spring's unbroken run of games at wing-forward.

"I'm completely focussed on football," the Na Fianna man affirms. "Of course I always keep an eye on the hurlers - I'm still close to a lot of the lads.

"Joey Boland is my clubmate and a very good friend who I'd be chatting to regularly, and I grew up playing on teams with Johnny McCaffrey so I would be in contact with them," he adds. "I didn't get to play hurling for Na Fianna last year just with the way the season went, but I'd be hoping this year I'd get to play with the club. But I'm happy with the decision."

DEFENSIVE

Meanwhile, Brady doesn't anticipate any dramatic defensive shift by the footballers in response to what happened against Donegal last summer. "Our primary focus is the championship," he says.

"The league is important as well, but we are trying things and will shore up the defence this year but we will not change our philosophy.

"We will still play the way that Dublin teams traditionally play, and one game and one result against Donegal last year is not going to dramatically change the way we play."

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