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Skipper McCaffrey has no Blues over defections

JOHNNY McCAFFREY is the Dublin hurling captain again this year, quite possibly in a different guise and, most certainly, against a different backdrop as they set out on something of a redemptive season.

The Lucan man has lined out at centre-forward in recent challenge matches against Clare, Loughiel and Tipperary, a much more advanced role for him.

Promotion, rather than league title retention, is an immediate aim, but he's not too disheartened by the less glamourous excursions lying in wait. Quite the contrary, in fact.

"There is that carrot if you win Division 1B, you're into a Division 1A semi-final," McCaffrey notes. "We'll be playing games anyway. The games in 1B will be tough and competitive and they will stand us in good stead."

He's not overly bothered by football defections either. The hurlers hadn't figured Ciarán Kilkenny into their plans so his non-availability doesn't change a whole lot.

Martin Kennedy is gone but like night following day, Ross Dunphy's appointment as team trainer has added something fresh to the mix.

Tomás Brady is a little different, though. McCaffrey and Brady were on development teams, minor, Under 21 in both codes, and senior hurlers for the past half decade.

"It was a surprise," he admits, "but I was talking to him the night he made the decision and it's something he always wanted to do and he said he'd have regrets if he didn't do it.

"I wished him the very best of luck. I get on well with him still, we're good friends. I'll be looking out for him and hopefully, things go well for him in the football side."

McCaffrey, then, is very much 'on message' with the hurlers' view of the world just now. They're getting on with the business of building for the summer and the post-mortem into 2012 heralded one obvious place to begin 2013.

"You get momentum from winning games," he reflected. " I know we had two big losses against Galway and Kilkenny in the League and Championship and we sort of never really recovered from them.

"We always seemed to be chasing ourselves whereas the year before we had momentum and we were very confident. There was a couple of small factors that hopefully we can put right this year," McCaffrey concluded.