THE COUNTDOWN IS ON
THE countdown has started. The Cups have done the
tour. Soon the talking will be over and it will be time to walk the walk as
Anthony Daly’s hurlers and Pat Gilroy’s footballers make their grand summer
Both Dublin teams will wage a common war against complacency this week.
For the hurlers the nightmare of Antrim in 2010 will surely be revisited to ensure that there is no one taking anything for granted when they meet Laois on Saturday in Tullamore.
The Dubs are favourites to win and the Dubs will
expect to win and clinch a showdown with Kilkenny, but the consequences for
being caught out would be nothing short of disastrous and would ruin all the
great work that has been done up until now.
Antrim’s mishap with Westmeath and Tipp’s fright against Limerick last Sunday should be all the warning that’s required.
Give Willie Hyland the chance to impress and the Laois sharpshooter will help himself to an All-Star from frees and play this weekend.
Nothing short of a fully professional display to show the gap between the teams will suffice.
Avoid suspensions, avoid more cruciates and advance into the next round will be the mission.The Dubs have little to be complacent about and will be driven by the fact that they have actually yet to win a competitive match in 2012 and last January it was Laois who started this run with a Walsh Cup win.
Pat Gilroy’s footballers meanwhile will be equally
hotly fancied to account for Louth in their Leinster quarter final at Croke
Park on Sunday.
It’s a classic no win situation for the Dubs – one they will have been well used to in Leinster over the years.
Win well and the full value will be called into question. Scrape home and the critics will have a field day and the armchair psychologists will descend to pick apart the pieces of their supposed mental frailty after the All-Ireland win.
Gilroy has shaken up the squad and he is right to demand a firm response from the 15 deemed best to start because the competition for places has been intense.
Kerry were pretty awful against Tipperary last
week – but you never for once believed that the Kingdom were ever in danger of
Like the hurlers, the footballers need to show the gap of two divisions that exist between the teams.
Louth, to their credit, showed great heart to score a goal at the death to deny Westmeath.
Defending Stephen Cluxton’s net has been a top priority for Gilroy’s men the last two championship summers and will be an area they will address this week.
Injuries have upset their run through the league –
Bernard and Alan Brogan are playing catch up and it remains to be seen if they
are deemed match fit enough.
One other crucial difference to last year is that the Dubs are not banging home the goals like they did last year.
Part of that is an inevitable response of the opposition tightening up; part of it is down to the Brogans and Eoghan O’Gara having an injury plagued league.
But it also puts the pressure on the attack to make the goal chances that do fall their way count.
Neither Dublin side will be able to claim they are the finished article after this weekend.
But they both share the common realisation that defeat cannot be an option.
THE VODAFONE DUB HUB JOURNALIST
Vodafone, together with award winning GAA journalist Cian Murphy, is delighted to bring you the Vodafone Dub Hub - The Dublin GAA blog. Cian will keep you up to date with the latest news, interviews, analysis and insights on Dublin GAA. We will also be running regular give-aways so keep an eye out for competitions. Cian has been covering Gaelic games since 1992 and is a GAA Writer with the Irish Sun.
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