| 8.5°C Dublin

Dubs expecting a battle: Ryan

'Limerick will come to Croker will all guns blazing'IF anything, the Dublin hurlers might cobble together a successful season, just so everyone will shut up about their annus horribilis of 2012.

It's a recurring theme with every public pronouncement from the camp; that 'not looking beyond Saturday/Sunday' mantra, their endeavour to return winning ways which, in turn, becomes a habit ... just as losing did last year.

For Paul Ryan, the year 2012 must, on reflection, be even more bitter given his Ballyboden St Enda's troops failed at the group stages to win an incredible sixth Dublin SHC 'A' title on the bounce.

In fact, so hard did Ryan take it (look away now hurling snobs) he went off playing football. Junior C.



"It would have been the first time in years with Ballyboden where we would have gotten knocked out and it would have been strange for me to have six months off," he recalls.

"I actually went back playing a bit of Junior C football. I haven't had a break that long since, I don't know what age. So it was good to recharge the batteries. You get a lot hungrier because you take it for granted when you have it there in front of you. Hopefully we can get back on the horse with 'Boden and Dublin this year."

If they're sick of the constant references and reminders to 2012 already though, they don't show it. Or at least, they address it with a humble grace.

"We felt that we got a bit ahead of ourselves without doing the hard work," Ryan admits now. "We're just getting back to the drawing board this year and we have a few wins under out belts.

"Winning is a habit and we know from last year losing is a habit as well. Last year was a major disappointment I suppose we weren't closing out games and that was our biggest problem we were hurling okay but not losing them out and that is what we are trying to do this year."

So far so good, although it's all relative really. They have two wins from two games but it's arguable whether the standard of play Dublin have exhibited so far would have earned them victories against any of the Division 1A teams.

Against that, they didn't need to.

"You just have to focus on the next ball, next point, next play, 'cos in the last 10 minutes when you are a few points up you can take your eye off the ball and that's what we did last year and what we are trying to address this year," Ryan explains, although he insists that Dublin have not put any extra premium on scoring goals this year.



"You practice all facets of the game but I wouldn't say we honed in on goals," he shrugs. "A goal chance, if it presents itself in a game, you take it anyway. But I wouldn't say we honed it on it all. We practice everything the game has to offer, so hopefully we can keep going. If the goals keep coming, we'll be happy."

On Saturday, it's Limerick - the only other 100 per cent record holders in Division 1B and as such, the promotion ramifications are obvious. If Anthony Daly had an ideal time of spring for his team to begin hitting the higher register of their abilities, Saturday would more than likely be just that.

"We started out this year," Ryan explains, "looking at every game as an important one but obviously, the Limerick one is a big game it is in Croke Park it is a big occasion. They are one of the best teams in the league (Division 1B).

"Limerick are flying I know people said they only beat Carlow by a few points but we wouldn't read anything into that because we know they will come at us with all guns blazing," he concluded.