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Sunday 25 August 2019

Tribes' Kenny and Kennedy brought extra edge to Galway game

Chris Crummey celebrates victory
Chris Crummey celebrates victory

The notion of Parnell Park as an impenetrable, if somewhat rickety, structure has fast attained the rank of hurling cliché in the days since Dublin ousted Galway from the championship, just weeks after conjuring a Houdini draw against Wexford.

Like all clichés, 'Fortress Parnell' has a large grain of truth running through it.

Whether Dublin can take their flintiness on the road with them now is the issue.

Next weekend, they will play the Joe McDonagh Cup winners - Westmeath or Laois - away from home.

If they win, it's the losers in Sunday's Munster final between Limerick and Tipperary, the accepted best two teams in hurling just now, almost certainly in a Munster venue.

"Our two best performances this year were in Parnell Park against Galway and Thurles against Tipp," says Dublin captain Chris Crummey, highlighting the league quarter-final victory over Tipperary.

"I think that win against Tipp, going into our next game against Laois or Westmeath, that's probably going to be the biggest thing that we can draw from, that we have gone to another big stadium and won against a big team," he argues.

"That's definitely going to give us confidence going in against Westmeath or Laois, to know that it's not just Parnell Park, that we've done it in other places as well, particularly in such a tight game."

Ablaze

These have been an enjoyable couple of weeks for Crummey.

Last year, Dublin were out of the championship before the start of June, lame ducks with two provincial matches still to play. Now their summer is ablaze with possibility.

The Galway win, in which Crummey was instrumental as both a creative and destructive force, marked the county's most significant championship victory since the 2013 Leinster final.

As it happened, Crummey established himself in the line-up the following year - Anthony Daly's last - as the team began to slide.

"When you lose and you perform badly you do probably question . . . I don't think you question your role but you question 'what are we doing wrong here?'" Crummey recalls.

"How do we get better?' In the last few years we've had bad beatings, in particular to Galway, and I suppose if you stop you're never going to improve.

"And that's probably the biggest thing - looking at how we get better and get everyone together. That's probably the biggest thing."

passionate

Galway have represented many of the milestones for Dublin hurling in the last decade, both good and bad.

The counties have engineered a sparky enough rivalry in that time.

Yet the fact that two Galway men - Kenny and Greg Kennedy - are now so central to Dublin's forward momentum is scarcely remarked upon, such has been their involvement in the county since arriving in Cuala five years ago.

"Mattie and Greg are such passionate hurling men," Crummey points out.

"The week of the game you could sort of see . . . I suppose it's natural, I remember in my first year on the panel, we played Clare, down in Clare, I was only on the panel I'd say two weeks under Daly.

"We played Clare down in Ennis and I remember Daly going on about the streets down there, walking in through Ennis.

"Now I wasn't on the panel on the day but he was talking about that and you could just see how much it meant to him.

"It was sort of similar with Mattie and Greg . . . 'Alright, this is Galway'.

"I think they probably wanted to beat their home county even more because there's so much at stake.

"So," Crummey adds, "I'd say I probably did notice it because they're probably just that bit more on edge going into the game."

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