Monday 22 January 2018

Sky Blue hurlers have the tools to deliver show at Croker

To their credit, Dublin tend to do those sort of wins they pulled off in Parnell Park last week against Galway pretty well.

The Clare and Kilkenny victories of the 2014 League were under similar circumstances.

Bad losses to Galway and Waterford preceded those big victories, the sort that soothe the fears of a manager and his players.

And so it was that after the Cork hammering and the Clare mini collapse, Dublin did the business when it was put up to them by a Galway team with a little more motivation than anyone to leave a couple of scarring marks on Dublin's psyche ahead of a summer when they'll get it on all over again at Croke Park in the Leinster quarter-finals.

One constant through all those restorative wins was Parnell Park and by the time Dublin get to play there next winter or spring, a full five years will have past since they were beaten in Donnycarney.


A fortress, it most certainly is. The flip side of that is a less than distinguished record in Croke Park since they became relevant in the grand scheme of hurling things.

It's an odd little run.

That their two victories there in the past five years, the Leinster final of 2013 and the 2011 League decider, have come in major matches and twice against Kilkenny could be used as more than circumstantial evidence that Dublin have it in them to perform on Jones' Road and, similarly, a short glance at their team would suggest they have the necessary utensils.


Many players seem to be entering decent form, although, if Ger Cunningham was to be really picky about it, he might worry that not enough of his early-season tyros have lasted until this still relatively early part of the year. And also that some of his initial positional experimentations are beginning to wander their way back from whence they came.

Peter Kelly, for instance, looks nailed-on for full-back for the rest of the year after a stirring performance there against Galway, although Conal Keaney did his chances of remaining in the half-back line no harm after a strong and determined display, partly in direct opposition to Joe Canning.


Limerick, obviously, won't have the same kind of motivation to take Dublin down a peg but after missing out on promotion for the umpteenth time, maintaining their seemingly permanent status as members of the hurling League's second tier, a run towards a League title wouldn't go amiss either.

"We can still make a silver lining," insisted TJ Ryan, the third manager to fail to get the Treaty men out of the 1B swamp.

"We wanted to win Division 1B and that didn't happen and nothing we can do now only get on with it."

"We want to win a quarter-final and get to a semi -final. It's a good opportunity for us - it's a quarter-final of a national competition and a game we are targeting a win.

"This whole Division 1A and Division 1B is disappointing because we wanted to win it from the outset and we didn't but right now we are playing against a Division 1A side," he concluded.

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