Liam Rushe: 'We were staring down barrel of the gun. The year was over for us if we lost'
"ON those days, character shows through," reflects Liam Rushe of Dublin's harum-scarum SHC qualifier victory over Limerick on Saturday, a crucial about-face in their season, though not a match that would have scored particularly highly for artistic merit.
"We had a bit of luck, too. It would have been very easy to fold there when we went eight down at one stage," Rushe adds, a fate his team appeared to have largely accepted at that precise moment, such was their body language.
"We were staring down the barrel of the gun, the championship and the year was over for us and we were going home and that was the end of it.
"At half-time, we said we didn't want last Thursday to be our last session. We just dug deep and things went our way.
"Paul Ryan and a lot of lads stood up for us. We battened down the hatches. I'm dropping cliche after cliche here but we did dig deep.
"The hurling wasn't great by any means and the ball was skidding all over the place and everybody was falling," says the St Pat's Palmerstown man.
And thus, Dublin have salvaged a quarter-final spot, against Waterford in two Sundays time, most likely back in Semple Stadium.
"We're happy to get here. Our target had been to play three games in July," Rushe says.
"We would have seen the year as a bit of a disappointment otherwise. It would have been a step back from last year and like last year when we got to the All-Ireland quarter-finals it was the minimum again this year.
"I know there's a bit of excitement now and understandably when you're holding onto a one-point lead in the dying seconds but we won't get carried away.
"We won't be getting carried away because we know we'll be facing massive opposition."
And as such, the Galway annihilation seems a long time ago for Dublin.
"They can just do that to you," Rushe maintains. "They got a run on us and we just weren't ready for it. We set up wrong and they blew us away in five minutes.
"Having said that, I still believe if we knocked in the two penos we would have only been seven or eight down at half-time and still right in there.
"Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
"We felt we could have done better but these things happen sometimes.
"We looked forward to the redemption," Rushe concludes, "and we've gone some way towards that the last two days."