Monday 24 September 2018

Dublin hurlers must restore the old order if they want to progress

Liam Rushe
Liam Rushe

DUBLIN hurlers must play their "top players in their best positions" if they are to relaunch themselves through the back door as a serious championship contender.

So says retired Sky Blue Maurice O'Brien, who would love to see Liam Rushe restored to his old centre-back stomping ground for tomorrow night's All-Ireland SHC qualifier against Laois at O'Moore Park (7.0).

According to O'Brien, the optimum positions for Dublin's leading players were all discovered before this year.

While he understood fully why new boss Ger Cunningham tried Rushe in the forwards, he is now hoping for a defensive U-turn in Portlaoise.

"For Dublin to progress I think that needs to happen. I think you have to have Liam Rushe at centre-back; I think you need Conal Keaney back up in the half-forward line; Peter Kelly back (from injury) at full-back," O'Brien told The Herald.

"They are the top players in the country if they're played in their positions, but we're playing them out of position currently. So I think it's vital that your top men play in their most natural positions."

The Limerick native then warned: "Laois have a serious point to prove as well. They very much underperformed against Galway too.

"And Laois have good hurlers, they have made good progress under Cheddar Plunkett, so they will be looking for a big performance.

"If Dublin are serious about where they're going, what they want to do, they should be beating Laois - but it's by no means a given. If the attitude isn't 100pc, you're in a dogfight."

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