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Dublin going well as options increase up front

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LETTING FLY: Dublin’s Liam Rushe in action against Laois’ Matthew Whelan. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

LETTING FLY: Dublin’s Liam Rushe in action against Laois’ Matthew Whelan. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

LETTING FLY: Dublin’s Liam Rushe in action against Laois’ Matthew Whelan. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

With Dublin finishing up the group stages of their National Hurling League Division 1B campaign on a winning note last Sunday afternoon, it's fair to say that there is a degree of positivity following the first few months of Mattie Kenny's reign as manager.

Granted, their 0-13 to 0-11 victory against Laois was more about perspiration than inspiration but to be guaranteed either first or second spot in the table is probably as well as Kenny could have hoped for.

Gaining a win over either Galway or Waterford would have been high on the list of his priorities and Na Fianna senior manager Declan Feeney feels that the Dubs are going as well as could be expected given the new management team in place.

"I think Mattie Kenny would definitely have accepted where Dublin are at the minute if you had offered it to him at the start of the league.

"Beating Galway or Waterford was big for them and to score 1-26 against Waterford was very important in terms of building confidence in the panel.

"I think the management will be happy with what has been unearthed in terms of the forward line and there are probably eight or nine players that are in contention for places in the attack for the championship.

"The options have certainly increased up front when put in comparison with last year although it's not just a case of selecting the right personnel as the balance of the forward line has to be looked at too.

"Someone like Oisín O'Rorke has come in and made the most of the opportunity that has been given to him and I'm delighted to see that as he has been knocking on the door with Kilmacud Crokes for a long time without really getting a proper chance," said Feeney.

Midfield is an area that still looks to be decided with Kenny trying a number of different variations over the course of the league.

Feeney feels that this vital area is less than clearcut given most of the personnel involved are more likely to thrive on the harder surfaces over the summer.

"I think that Rian McBride has probably put his hand up more than most and he went very well against Waterford.

"If he starts for the championship, they will need to find the right balance with his midfield partner and you would probably be looking at the likes of Seán Treacy, Darragh O'Connell, Cian Boland or Jake Malone around that area.

"The midfield is certainly a work in progress but it's very important that the right balance is found as that transition between the backs and forwards is crucial to how any team plays," he said.


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