Alan Nolan grabs his chance to impress for Daly’s Dublin

Goalkeeper’s assured display against Wexford gives Dublin boss a nice selection problem for the Leinster final

Alan Nolan: Stepped into the Dublin goalkeeper’s role with some success at Wexford Park. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Alan Nolan: Stepped into the Dublin goalkeeper’s role with some success at Wexford Park. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

He has other things to worry about in the build-up to the defence of their Leinster hurling title but Dublin manager Anthony Daly can no longer be sure about the number one player on his team.

Because, in the absence of injured first-choice goalkeeper Gary Maguire for last Saturday’s semi-final against Wexford, Alan Nolan was handed the number one jersey, and hardly put a foot wrong.

Maguire, a former All Star, is expected to be recovered from the fractured thumb in time for the Leinster final on July 6th, against either Kilkenny or Galway, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll get his place back.

At 31 Maguire’s greater experience is unquestionable, and yet Nolan – who at 28 has also been a member of the Dublin panel since 2006 – has certainly given Daly reason for thought. Nolan could hardly have stopped Podge Doran’s goal in the first half, having already blocked the initial shot of Conor McDonald, and the St Brigid’s player made several other impressive saves. Also, his lengthy puck-outs and general composure helping to steady Dublin’s confidence throughout the game.

Nolan said Daly only told him he was playing against Wexford at the start of last week.

“Anthony just said he wasn’t chancing anyone who was 50-50, and Gary just wasn’t fully right,” says Nolan. “I was delighted to know, and just got myself focused for the match.

“Maybe now, with three weeks to go, Gary might make it. It’s hard to know. But look, I’ve been waiting for so long, I was just delighted to get out on the pitch and get going, and lucky enough it all went well.

Few touch

es “It was nice to get a few touches early on, and get your confidence going, when you haven’t played. But the backs, in fairness, did some amount of work to reduce their shots. So, it’s just being on your toes in case the ball breaks in behind them. But the hooks and blocks to stop them were unbelievable tackling, and the discipline unbelievable too. And that’s what wins you games. Wexford got one goal, to be fair to them, so we’ll work on that to try and stop that happening again.”

It’s still not certain at this stage if All Star forward Danny Sutcliffe will be fit in time for the Leinster final. His hand remains in a cast having had a plate inserted last week.

There is still some hope that Mark Schutte might make it too, even though he sustained a dislocated collarbone early on Saturday evening. Again, there is no guarantee he will get his place either, as Paul Ryan came off the bench in his place and hit three excellent points from play in Dublin’s win.

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