-The Ryan O'Dwyer Column-
A FEW days on and the emotions are still raw and the sense of devastation is still the same. We always knew that life would go on after Saturday’s clash with Kilkenny and whatever happened, we’d have to get up and face the world on Sunday. But we believed that we would get up looking forward to playing in a Leinster final.
Anthony Daly was dead right when he said on TV afterwards that he might have been better off picking up 20 lads outside the Red Cow hotel. Some people have said those comments were harsh – but Daly was right. We didn’t do ourselves justice. Getting beaten isn’t an issue, it’s the manner of the defeat that is the problem and that’s what’s so hard to take.
I’m as guilty as anyone about talking Dublin up and talking about us being good enough to win an All-Ireland. But that’s only because I believe in these players. But maybe at times we are too positive. Maybe we expect things to happen and don’t go out and make them happen.
We didn’t make it happen last Saturday. We
believed we could win but belief is one thing and going out and doing it is
really another and that’s a harsh lesson for us. I was 100 per cent certain
that we’d win but we failed and we not only failed ourselves but we failed our
friends and families and Dublin.
Kilkenny haven’t won eight All-Irelands since 2000 for nothing. They were unbelievably good and hit us hard but they were helped by the fact we were so terrible and to only score nine points in 70 minutes of hurling is an awful statistic.
We have to regroup for the qualifiers now. There was no easy draw for us and having to go to Clare will not be easy. Of course the fact that Daly is from Clare and Davy Fitz is in charge of them now adds a lot of extra spice to it. But it didn’t matter who we got in the draw we don’t want our hurling to be over this early. We want to react positively and we need to regroup and put in a display that puts pride back into Dublin hurling.
We need to prove a point that we haven’t left all our form behind us in 2011. We want to build on what we did last year and we want to prove we are still a good team. We have to take solace from the fact that Tipperary lost to Cork by 10 points in the first round of Munster in 2010 and recovered and won the All-Ireland. We were exposed last Saturday and we have to reassess where we are.
We need a big display for the sake of Anthony Daly and his management team too. Dalo, Ritchie Stakelum, Ciaran Hetherton, Vinny Teehan and John McEvoy and everyone involved have dedicated themselves to this bunch of players and we feel we have let them down.
Anthony Daly is putting in a huge effort driving up and down from Clare for the team and I think out of everyone involved it was Dalo who took Saturday’s defeat the hardest. I wouldn't be surprised if he is questioning himself but I know all the Dublin players are crazy about him and would gladly take a hurl to the head for him and his management team and we need to step it up for the next day and do it for them.
Clare will be difficult because they have an impressive young team with an average age of only 23 and they’ll be fired up playing down in Ennis. You don’t go into anyone’s back yard and win easy and it’s a tight pitch similar to Portlaoise. We need to rally the troops and reward Dalo and the management for the faith they showed in us as players.
It would be a long summer with no hurling and that
thought is unbearable. Clare will have the same attitude and I think it will be
an unbelievable battle.
We need to rally now. We thought we had solid foundations and Kilkenny did a job on them but we can build them back up again and instead of talking the talk we have to walk the walk and let our hurling do the talking and produce a display that reflects the hard work and the effort that everyone has made for Dublin this year.
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