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Daly: It haunts me still

'Landscape so different' now if Dubs had beaten Cork in 2013

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SO CLOSE: Anthony Daly’s Dublin went toe-to-toe with Cork in the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final. Photo: SPORTSFILE

SO CLOSE: Anthony Daly’s Dublin went toe-to-toe with Cork in the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final. Photo: SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

SO CLOSE: Anthony Daly’s Dublin went toe-to-toe with Cork in the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Anthony Daly believes the landscape of Dublin hurling could be "so much different" if his Leinster heroes had overcome Cork seven years ago.

The Clareman recalled his roller coaster reign during a 53-minute interview aired on Dubs TV last night, declaring: "Dublin owes me nothing. One of the best six years of my life."

But Daly also spelled out how 2013, the year Dublin ended 52 years in the provincial wilderness, was both the crowning glory and the one that got away. "When Johnny McCaffrey went up for the Bob O'Keeffe (Cup), that was magic," he recalled.

"But the chance was there ... you had no Kilkenny, no Tipp, Cork weren't the power they used to be six-seven years earlier. It was a real, real chance. It haunts me, I have to say, to this day."

Interviewed by former Dublin footballer Eamon Fennell for 'The Hop Ball', he spoke of how that summer was "tinged with regret for me that we didn't go all the way." It ended in semi-final torment, a late Patrick Horgan goal sealing a five-point Cork win after Ryan O'Dwyer's red card.

"I'd have felt in '13 we were probably after travelling the hard yards. To beat Kilkenny in a replay was remarkable in loads of ways and to back that up like eight days later by hammering Galway in the Leinster final," he said.

"The final score would suggest a hammering, but Galway put it up to us a few times in the game and brought it back to five points at one stage and you say, 'Jeez, here we go' and Joe Canning was after getting a goal. But then to kick on and win the way we did ...

"That's the bit I regret and maybe the landscape now, even though I'd probably be long gone - sure I might be still there, I might be doing a Brian Cody on it now! But, look, the landscape now could be so much different.

"The footballers (have won) five in a row … the hurlers could be looking for a second or third one at this stage."

Yet he stressed that "winning Leinster was always the big one for me, the Bob O'Keeffe Cup and we used always touch the picture of the men of '61 when we'd eaten in Parnell … I'd make them touch the picture and say, 'We're going to be there some day.'"

Only last Saturday The Herald concluded its own week-long series - 'Six Days of Dalo' - featuring six of the highs and lows of his eventful reign.

The two-time All-Ireland winning captain admitted his introduction to the squad in the winter of 2008 had been something of a culture shock.

"The very first training session I took, I think it was down in Thomas Davis on the 'astro' and I thought their hurling was just so slow compared to what I'd be expecting," he recounted.

"Jeez, I went through them afterwards. I savaged them, I have to say. We probably brought 40 guys in, as you do at the start - and they went home saying, 'This fella is mad. It's going to be hardship.' But that would never be my way.

"I was Clare captain for eight seasons, but I would have been always one of the boys. Once fellas are putting it in, I think it's crucial you let them have the craic and I wouldn't like to be the dictator either."

He continued: "I just couldn't believe the laxness from what I was used to with Ger Loughnane and my time as Clare manager even.

"But when I came to Dublin I couldn't believe the general ... 'Oh, who we playing today? Cork, is it?' Whereas I'd be like … Cork, you'd die roaring to beat them.

"I didn't know what sort of culture I was going into and it was a culture shock, but very quickly you knew they were very genuine guys, they were the guys who would do anything."

Daly had high praise for many of his Dublin players. "How Mikey Carton didn't win an All Star, for me, is an injustice," he remarked. He picked Brian Lohan as his favourite player to have hurled alongside, with David 'Dotsy' O'Callaghan namechecked as the favourite one he has coached.