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Monday 23 October 2017

Tribesman Campbell believes that Dublin can bounce back against Davy's Banner Boys

JUSTIN CAMPBELL hurled with Galway for a decade. He won the All-Ireland Club Championship title with Kiltormer in 1992.

He's happy to see the rise of Dublin hurling. And he gives the Dubs a decent chance of leaving Clare with a result next Saturday.

"It was great to see Ger Cunningham and Dublin get those two wins against Tipperary and Kilkenny," he says. "Ok, they got caught by Cork last Saturday, but, overall, you have to say that Dublin hurling is on the way up."

He's a fan of Anthony Daly. He admired his work in the capital.

"Anthony is very grounded. He got on very well with the lads.

"Dublin have a good bunch of players. It's more about belief than anything else.

"The difficult thing is that when you haven't won for a while is to be coming up against the big counties and trying to get a result."

These days, Justin is managing the Roscommon hurlers. They play in Division 3A of the Allianz NHL.

They beat Fingal at Rush last Sunday. "Fingal had only lost by a point to Tyrone, and we were very disappointed with our display in the defeat to Monaghan, so we arrived with all guns blazing.

"But credit to Fingal. They have made huge strides, and last year they ended up in an All-Ireland final.

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"The standards in Dublin hurling are getting better all the time, and it's good to see."

Roscommon is a football stronghold. "There's only seven hurling clubs, but we have a great group of lads who are trying hard."

He had memorable days with Galway.

"You never regard it as enjoyable when you are playing. It's only when you retire that you realise how much it gives you.

"Sure, it's like a drug. It's very hard to get away from it.

"You are never out of it. The GAA is great in that way."

Recently, Justin met some old friends, echoes of the Kiltormer days.

"The pinnacle with Kiltomer was winning the All-Ireland. We beat Birr in the final.

"Birr had the Whelehans, the Pilkingtons and Dáithí Regan.

"We were coming to the end, and they were only starting because they won four All-Irelands after that.

"We had a terrific group of players. We could have been beaten a couple of times, but the lads had such character."

The semi-final that year against Cashel King Cormac's went to three games. The third game was played in Croke Park on St Patrick's Day. The final took place in Birr.

"They were three brilliant games against Cashel.

"I met a few of the Cashel lads not so long back and we always have a great bit of slagging and all the rest of it. It's the same with the Birr boys."

He doesn't think Saturday's reverse at the hands of the Rebels will dent the Blues, although Davy Fitzgerald will be keen for Clare to get their first points of the campaign.

"Dublin got the wake-up call against Cork, and that could well be the spur to really get back into it now.

"And I'm sure they have what it takes to turn things around against Clare."

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