Wednesday 13 December 2017

'Let's banish second half blues' - Niall

Dublin’s Niall McMorrow and Galway’s Pádraig Mannion. Pic: Sportsfile
Dublin’s Niall McMorrow and Galway’s Pádraig Mannion. Pic: Sportsfile

Dublin hurlers must banish their second half blues if they're to topple Galway in O'Connor Park, Tullamore this Sunday (4.0).

A quick perusal of their six-game Allianz League form graph underlines a stark difference between Dublin's first and second half performances - a key factor in their ultimate demotion from Division 1A.

"Our consistency maybe wasn't there, and it was probably evident throughout the league in terms of consistency from the first to even the second half," admitted Niall McMorrow.

"We just need to focus on ourselves, try to get that 70-minute performance."

When you include their eight-point defeat to Clare in a relegation play-off, Ger Cunningham's young guns finished with an overall scoring difference of minus 30.

Yet their cumulative first half tally, over the six games, was seven points greater than that conceded.

Most of the damage was inflicted afterwards: cue a second half scoring difference of minus 37.

It wasn't all bad news after the break: Dublin 'won' their second half in Cork by four points en route to their only spring victory. Moreover, they battled manfully against the wind (their regulation league trip to Ennis) and with 14 men (against Kilkenny) following the dismissal of goalkeeper Gary Maguire.

But they fell away completely against Tipperary; let a winning position slip at home to Waterford, surrendering a two-point interval lead to lose by five; and likewise in their play-off with Clare, nosediving from two up to lose by eight.

"We didn't want to be relegated, obviously," McMorrow reflected, "but we were happy enough in terms of the performances that we had.

"We maybe fell flat in a couple of second halves, but there's a lot of positives to be taken out of the league - young lads stepping up and performing reasonably well," concluded McMorrow.

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