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Monday 11 December 2017

Road miles prove costly to Blues

IS it any wonder the Dublin hurlers like playing in Parnell Park so much?.

A glance down through their league results since the 2007 season following promotion from Division 2 the previous year reveals a stark difference in their success rate between their home and away form.

Their Parnell Park 'tale of the tape' shows five victories from eight top flight matches, two draws, and just a single loss -- to Cork in 2007.

The wins came against Galway (twice), Antrim, Tipperary and Waterford, while both Kilkenny and Clare were held to home draws.

Conversely, the stats show that Dublin's hurlers do not take well to the road at all. That they've lost nine from 11 away matches in that same timeframe tells it's own story.

In fact, the only times Dublin have avoided defeat away from Parnell Park were in 2007 when seven points from Kevin O'Reilly (4f, 2 slines, 1 '65) helped the Dubs to a 0-22 to 1-15 victory over Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds; in 2008, when they drew with Wexford, who were subsequently relegated, and their maiden league voyage in Anthony Daly's tenure last February, a scrappy win against a rogue Cork side in Páirc Uí Chaoimh during the latest Rebel hurling strike.

Yet while their away form doesn't make pretty reading, the Dubs have at least some cause to feel aggrieved with the Croke Park fixture barons. In the '07, '08, '09 seasons - all campaigns since promotion (not including current one) - Dublin have been forced to play one extra away game. In both the '07 and '08 campaigns when Division 1 was split into 'A' and 'B' groups containing six teams, the Boys in Blue were sent on their travels on three occasions and played at home just twice. Last year, after the revamp to an eight-team top-tier, the breakdown was a four away, three home game split.

A coincidence, one would imagine, but given the obvious benefits of playing more games in your own back yard, Dublin will be hoping on capitalising on their Parnell Park record over the coming weeks.

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