HURLERS REALISE THEY ARE NOW A MAJOR SCALP
MUCH like the footballers, the Dublin hurlers are becoming used to a new life where the opposition is revved up to a whole new level to beat them.
The footballers know that the sight of them usually ups the intensity of their opposition, but Anthony Daly’s hurlers are under no illusions now that they are regarded as a major hurling scalp in their own right.
It's a compliment. But this, of course, is of no consolation to Dalo and the Dubs who have now lost their opening two competitive games of 2012 after losing to Laois in the Walsh Cup and then to Galway last Sunday in the league.
With Tipp and Waterford also losing it throws the Dubs into a bear pit of survival, but the team showed last year that they were at their best when the going got really difficult.
You can talk about new focus and new goals but nothing sets the agenda like a result like this and Anthony Daly has time now to assess things and set about getting a response.
On the plus side, young Danny Sutcliffe had a decent debut and he is a player for the future.
Intense matches with Kilkenny, Tipp, Galway, Cork and Waterford will improve the Dubs no end. Whether they win or lose the league isn’t going to matter much when they stand over a tough Championship campaign. And there is a feeling that the Dubs will be looking to time their run this year so that they are at their best for the summer.
Daly’s first season of 2009 brought a surge in confidence, a good league run
and progress in reaching their first Leinster final since the early 1990s.
Then 2010 was an annus horriblis that almost derailed the whole plan.
The graph shot upwards again dramatically last year and they cannot
afford to nosedive again in 2012.
Crucially, this team of players is better and stronger than they were in 2010 and a slump is unlikely.
This is a trail blazing team of history making hurlers. But this isn’t a Disney
script where the pieces fall into place, the opposition part like the Red Sea
and the run to the Hogan Stand steps is laid out in front in a montage.
One league defeat is not a crisis and people need to be calm.
This is a good young team that’s going places. There will be setbacks along the way but each one of them needs to be seen as a learning experience.
The Dubs have what it takes to survive in this division.
They are at home to Cork on March 11, a Cork team flying high after their impressive start against Waterford. The Dubs need to plan an ambush to clip the Rebel’s wings and use it to kick start their season.
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