Lack of fortune for Dublin U21s
REACTION: lEINSTER U21HC
Dublin manager Joe Fortune has praised the application and integrity of his panel despite their cruel loss to Kilkenny in the Leinster U21 Hurling Championship quarter-final in Parnell Park last Tuesday evening.
The heart-breaking 4-12 to 2-16 defeat was as tough a championship exit to take for the Dubs in recent years given the control that they exerted for large parts of the game with Fortune full of admiration for the performance that his side produced on the night.
"Since we got together as a panel a few months back, all the lads have put in a massive effort and I think that was evident in how they played last Tuesday.
"We have asked them to play a more running style this year and you could see the benefit of that especially in the second-half against Kilkenny.
"Sadly, we just didn't get that bit of luck that all teams need on occasions, especially against what I thought was a very good Kilkenny team.
"It all comes down to results at the end of the day and although I was very happy with an awful lot of what I saw, the sad reality is that the season is over for us and that's the really tough thing about the U21 championship in terms of not having a second chance.
"Given the massive effort that we produced the past few months, it's quite ruthless in that sense and that's probably the hardest part about last Tuesday night in that we can't build on the positives from our display," said Fortune.
"We have to be able to close it out and I suppose there have been a few instances over the past few years where Dublin haven't managed to win a match despite enjoying leads late in the game.
"I'm not sure why this is the case but it is incredibly frustrating to see a team play well but not get the result that I think we certainly deserved the other night.
"Maybe all we need is a little bit of luck that can propel us to win tight matches like last week," he added.
Naturally, how close Dublin came to securing a semi-final clash with Carlow will only add to Dublin's anguish with the displays of Cian Boland, Cian Mac Gabhann, Cian O'Callaghan and Seán McClelland highlighting the potential of the panel.
With Caolan Conway due to return from injury and momentum generated over the summer, Fortune feels that Dublin would not have been too far away when the competition was been decided later in the year.
"When we lost to Wexford last year, I don't think we could have too many complaints as they were the better team on the night.
"However, I thought that we were probably the better team last Tuesday and if we had managed to get over Kilkenny, I think we could have enjoyed a very long summer.
"I've never seen a dressing room so emotional as ours was after the game last week and I think the pain of defeat will stay with all of us for a while yet, knowing what we might have achieved," he added.