Rebel flop not on Dublin radar
We just had a bad day and we'll hope to do better insists Dubs co-captain Rushe
HAD Dublin been granted the option of hand-picking their hurling League semi-final opponents, they couldn't have chosen a more ideal fixture than the one they're facing.
Cork in Nowlan Park on April 19th represents both a shot at a League final appearance and a chance to make quick amends for their 0-34 to 1-20 caning by the Rebels just over three weeks back.
"It's funny, there's just a few points if you look back at it," says Liam Rushe, by way of rationalising that particular evening in Croke Park, a night that sticks out like a sore thumb amongst Dublin's 1A campaign.
"I still maintain that if (David) Treacy probably slotted that goal home, what were we, 15 minutes in, it would have been a draw or a point in it.
"It would have broken their momentum totally and we might have been in the mix."
Treacy didn't though and Dublin weren't.
Luke O'Farrell had a party at full-forward, roaming freely and unobstructed from full-forward, scoring 0-4.
Ditto Patrick Horgan (0-14, 4f) and the deeper-lying but no less effective Conor Lehane.
"It was probably just a build up of things, the way it went. In fairness, we were off the pace," Rushe acknowledged.
"We got annihilated on breaking ball and that is something we looked at.
"That's just it, the half-forward line were just breaking the ball and they were mopping it up.
"We really did refocus on that for Clare and then for Galway last week so I think that's probably the lesson we learned for that.
"We just weren't tuned in and, as well as that, in fairness to Cork, they were really on their game."
So much so that Jimmy Barry-Murphy's men would have rattled off 40 plus points had they maintained their first half scoring rate.
"Their accuracy rate must have been off the charts," recalls Rushe.
"Everything they struck just went over the bar.
"It was a bit like their Munster final last year.
"That's just something that Cork team just do and we'll be wary of it, try and break their momentum because when they get on a run they can just go 10/15 shots without missing."
Which isn't to say that Dublin are harbouring any grand notions of revenge.
"We really don't put too much on league games, we had a bad day and obviously we'll look to do better," Rushe - Dublin's newly-appointed co-captain insists.
"We did against Galway and Limerick and we'll look to give a better showing against Cork but we might save that for championship."
"If you just look at last Sunday, we were just a step away from a relegation battle so we were happy to get out of that and into a quarter-final, so now we're in bonus territory.
"We never laid the league out as a goal, to win the league.
Rushe started that night against Cork at full-forward and endured a pretty peripheral match.
Last Saturday, in Dublin's comprehensive win over Limerick, he played at centre-forward, threatened goal less but got involved more.
As it stands, Rushe accepts that a move back to number six "doesn't look on the cards for me," but welcomed his switch to the '40.
"It's just easier to be involved in the game, you get more touches and you are less reliant on passes in," he explained.
"I make no bones about that, I enjoyed it out there but I'll play where I'm put and that's it. I don't mean to say that in a bad way," he continues. "It can be frustrating. That's the thing.
"It's either a feast or a famine in there. You can have a lot or very little influence on the game depending on how things go.
"At centre-forward you can kind of force your influence on the game. It's a bit more difficult to do it from full."
In the meantime, Chris Crummy has made a good go of securing the centre-back spot vacated by Rushe, overwhelming Declan Hannon last Saturday night in Croke Park.
"He's a big man, he has a great style," Rushe praises. "He just wins it, he's no nonsense, he charges forward.
"He nearly got a second point there the other night. Centre-back is probably the position he wants and he's really putting up his hand for it."