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Dublin left out in cold

Banner swat aside Kenny's misfiring Dubs

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MADE TO WORK: Dublin’s Éamonn Dillon is tackled by Pat O’Connor of Clare during their Allianz Hurling League Division 1B Round 5 match at Cusack Park in Ennis, Clare. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

MADE TO WORK: Dublin’s Éamonn Dillon is tackled by Pat O’Connor of Clare during their Allianz Hurling League Division 1B Round 5 match at Cusack Park in Ennis, Clare. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

MADE TO WORK: Dublin’s Éamonn Dillon is tackled by Pat O’Connor of Clare during their Allianz Hurling League Division 1B Round 5 match at Cusack Park in Ennis, Clare. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

The League finished the same way it started for the Dublin hurlers with a comprehensive defeat but Mattie Kenny isn't unduly worried and championship is the only currency of any value in his mind this year.

Aside from a purple patch before the half-time break that saw them outscore Clare 1-5 to 0-2, the Dubs were no match for the Banner and left Cusack Park in Ennis having been dominated for the best part.

Spring has been all about getting new faces into the fray for Kenny with last summer's shock preliminary quarter-final defeat against Laois to the forefront of his mind.

"We used the League to get a lot of game time into lads, we achieved that. Last year we felt in the League that we didn't give enough exposure to some players," Kenny said.

"Come championship, they hadn't got the opportunities and maybe it held us back a little bit in the summer as it went on. We blooded a few guys again there and we said we'd use the League to get a stronger squad for the championship, every day we made four or five changes."

Donal Burke - who top scored for the Dubs with 10 points and was their only real attacking threat - opened their account with a trio of points but the home side took control hitting eight consecutive points in 15 minutes to surge 0-9 to 0-3 ahead.

Burke and defender Paul Crummey were doing their best to fight against the tide while the early introduction of Eamonn Dillon also worked the trick with the Naomh Fionnbarra attacker firing a goal in the 34th minute to somehow send them in level at the break, 1-8 to 0-11.

Clare were bossing them physically, however, and with the Dubs unable to win any primary possession under puck-outs, the brilliant midfield pairing of David McInerney (0-4) and Tony Kelly (0-12) - who finished with 16 points between them - began to run amuck in the closing half.

They always had the Dubs at arm's length with Shane O'Donnell causing Paddy Smyth plenty of problems and giving a scintillating display while defender Liam Corry also impressed along with Kelly and McInerney.

Brian Lohan's men - who are playing a much more direct style under their legendary manager - strode further clear to book their League semi-final place in some style while it was a third League defeat for Dublin.

Kenny is expected to be without Chris Crummey for six to eight weeks with a broken collarbone picked up in their previous defeat of Wexford and he will also be without competitive action until their Leinster SHC opener against Kilkenny on May 10.

The Galway native isn't worried though and will put his squad through their paces over the coming weeks before letting them back to their clubs as they prepare for Brina Cody's Cats.

"The League is finished for us but we're looking forward to keep building and push on and that when we're out in the championship in May, we'll be fresher and get the benefit of all the guys we given game time to during the League," Kenny said.

"The League started very early this year and not to have competitive matches between now and May is odd, like yesterday was February. The League is over very early and it'd be nice to have a couple of games coming up in March but that's the format and that's what we have to deal with now.

"We've three weeks of hard work to get through before we release them to the club for April."

SCORERS - Clare: T Kelly 0-12 (10f, 0-1 '65), D McInerney 0-4, S O'Donnell 0-3, D McMahon, D Reidy 0-2, D Ryan, J Conlon, A Shanagher 0-1, G Cooney 0-1 each. Dublin: D Burke 0-10 (6f), E Dillon 1-0, P Crummey 0-3, D Gray, R Hayes 0-1 each.

CLARE: E Quilligan 7; J Browne 7, C Cleary 7, L Corry 8; C Malone 7, P O'Connor 7, P Fitzpatrick 6; D McInerney 8, T Kelly 7; D Ryan 6, D Reidy 7, D McMahon 7; R Taylor 6, J Conlon 6, S O'Donnell 8. Subs: A Shanagher 7 for Ryan (44), G Cooney for Shanagher (blood sub 56), Shanagher for Cooney (58), Cooney 7 for Taylor (58), K Hehir for McMahon (63), P Collins for O'Donnell (66), R Hayes for Fitzpatrick (69).

DUBLIN:A Nolan 7; P Smyth 6, E O'Donnell 7, A Dunphy 7; J Malone 5, P Crummey 8, D Gray 7; S Moran 5, R McBride 6; D Sutcliffe 6, D Burke 7, F McGibb 6; M Schutte 6, D Keogh 6, R Hayes 6.

Subs: E Dillon 7 for Moran (26), A O'Neill for Dunphy (blood 50), P Ryan 6 for Sutcliffe (54), O'Neil 6l for McGibb (59), J Hetherton 6 for Schutte (60), L Rushe for McBride (65).

WIDES: Clare 11 (6 in first half) Dublin 8 (7)

YELLOW: Clare 2 (C Cleary 26, A Shanagher 48), Dublin 2 (P Crummey 25, D Keogh 47)

REF: D Hughes (Carlow) ATT: 3,360

MAN OF THE MATCH: David McInerney (Clare)

CLARE0-27

DUBLIN1-15

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