Minors are major players: Murphy
TADHG MURPHY is from Cork. He loves his hurling. He says the Liffey is just as deep as the Lee.
He manages the Cuala minor hurlers. "There's no doubt about it that the top minor level in Dublin is just as good as what's in Cork.
"In fact, I'd be surprised if there was anything better than Dublin in Cork or in any other county for that matter," states Tadhg.
"The clubs in Dublin are very strong. The competition in Division 1 of the minor grade is so sharp. That is what drives teams on.
"Such a high level of skill and intensity is good for everybody. Each team has to be at their best in order to compete. And that can only benefit Dublin hurling.
"Fair dues to the Dublin County Board for organising the structure in such an excellent way. Division 1 of the minor grade was a tribute to so many clubs and the work they are putting in."
Cuala won the Minor League Division 1 title. They beat St Vincent's in the final at O'Toole Park last month.
Rewinding the tape of that match, Tadhg insists that Dublin hurling can feel optimistic.
"You could travel the length and breadth of the country and you wouldn't see the same quality. It had so much to recommend it. Scores on the run, scores from out the field, goals cracked in, great saves, blocks and hooks.
"All the basics, and more, were there. It told anybody watching that Dublin hurling is in a good place. And that the next generation are just as good as what's there.
"The future looks bright, but minor is just a passing phase. We need to keep the young fellas playing. We have to keep them interested and involved.
"You want them coming through to play U21 for their clubs and for Dublin. But you can see all around the county how much they love their hurling. You see young fellas constantly out pucking the ball. It's all about nurturing that."
The Dalkey club will now be on the scent of the double when the Minor A Championship begins shortly. They are in Group 1 with Whitehall Colmcille, Ballyboden St Enda's and Na Fianna. Group 2 consists of St Vincent's, St Jude's, Kilmacud Crokes and Faughs.
"Last year we also won the Division 1 League but some of the lads playing then probably felt we didn't do ourselves justice in the Championship.
"In the Championship, it's important to get out of the blocks early. It's short and sweet, but that's Championship. Winning the league will help our morale."
So will the presence of Tadhg's Cuala cohorts, John Treacy and John Twomey, both ex-pillars of the Dublin defence.
"It's marvellous to bring that kind of experience and knowledge into the dressing room.
"When they talk, the young fellas listen. The players know it's not just talk. It helps lift their confidence.
"Lads look up to men like John Twomey and John Treacy who were top players in their era. And their achievements as players carry a lot of weight."
* IT looks like top hurler Simon Lambert could be out of action for the rest of the season.
He suffered a serious knee injury playing for Ballyboden St Enda's against Loughrea in a challenge match last week.
It's a blow to 'Boden, who are bidding to regain the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship title they last won in 2011 when they completed the historic five-in-a-row. All on the Firhouse Road send Simon their best wishes and hope to see him back in the boots as quickly as possible.