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Thursday 23 November 2017

All Dublin woes not Ger's fault

Blues' decline in recent years sadly all too inevitable

Dublin manager Ger Cunningham at Semple Stadium on Saturday.
Dublin manager Ger Cunningham at Semple Stadium on Saturday.

After a weekend in which hurling was shed in a most positive light, the contrast with the plight of the Dublin senior hurling team was all the more telling with the fortunes of Ger Cunningham's team cast in an even darker perspective.

The Waterford v Kilkenny clash on Saturday night was all that we have come to expect from these recent rivals while yesterday's Munster Final offered further evidence of a renaissance down in Cork.

In contrast, Dublin's tame exit from the championship was as emphatic as it was disappointing with the 6-26 to 1-19 scoreline reflecting the ease at which Tipperary regained their mojo after a couple of uninspired displays.

Inspiration is sadly one of the things that have been lacking for Dublin during Cunningham's tenure and few supporters within the county will be too aggrieved if his exit as manager is announced in the coming days or weeks.

But is it fair to say that the root of all of Dublin's evils can be placed at Cunningham's door alone?

Certainly, some players can feel aggrieved about their treatment in being dropped from the panel and the anecdotal evidence suggests that Cunningham's style of man-management leans more towards the stick than the carrot.

However, there's no doubting that Cunningham was left with an ageing panel that had possibly peaked with their Leinster final success against Galway in 2013.

He was therefore left with an unenviable task of rebuilding with his most pressing concern a dearth of quality in attack.

Sadly, there were no Seamus Callinan's, TJ Reid's or Joe Cannings to pull out of the hat and with Danny Sutcliffe's departure from the panel, Dublin lost their sole attacker of star quality.

Last week's controversy over the non re-scheduling of league fixtures was another stark reminder of hurling's place in the Dublin GAA landscape, although such was the pessimism around the team, it was unlikely to affect Dublin's crowd too much anyway.

Cunningham made plenty of mistakes but whoever replaces him will still have a seriously difficult rebuilding job on his hands.

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