herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

New dimension for Dubs

Tipp first up in League for Ger Cunningham's tenure

BRENDAN Maher (pictured)touched on something during the week, even if he probably didn't mean to.

"Any time you play Dublin, you always get huge physicality," the TIpperary captain said. "They're always highly motivated."

Physicality. Organisation. Work rate.

The sort of compliments regularly given to Dublin which could, if you were only slightly paranoid, double as euphemistic terms for 'lacking the hurling,' a charge seemingly aimed at Dublin every second year, when they fail to rescale the heights of the one previous.

At times, Anthony Daly bristled at the notion of his team's rise, their League and Leinster titles, being solely attributable to some freakish levels of fitness and/or physical strength, rather than their merits as a hurling side.

And rightully, that 'manufactured hurlers' barb became something of an internal joke amongst the squad.

Yet whether Maher intended it as such, that's the perception in some rich hurling corners of Ireland of Dublin and, fairly or not, probably will be until such time as they land an All-Ireland,

Which is where Ger Cunningham came in.

There is, no doubt, plenty of arable hurling land still to be ploughed in Dublin and the signs already are positive.

You'll hear this a million times until such time as a discernible style of play is detected with his new side but Cunningham's teams have generally employed a game based around the principles of possession retention, not a million miles from that which Daly had attempted to employ over the past two.

We'll get the first real viewing tomorrow against Tipp in Parnell Park.

"I think they like playing against Tipperary," Maher continued.

"We've had some great battles with them over the last number of years.

"They'll be motivated this Sunday because of the narrow defeat in Semple Stadium last year, both in the League and then in the Championship.

"For ourselves, personally, we can look back to 2010, when we played them last in Parnell Park and they beat us quite comfortably.

"We know any time we beat Dublin, they have a massive work rate and they pose and huge threat to you," Maher added. "You just try and nullify them as best you can."

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