Conal Keaney left disappointed at Dublin’s failure to finish off Kilkenny
Side will be ready for Cats’ backlash in replay
Kilkenny’s Conor Fogarty evades Mark Schutte of Dublin during their Leinster SHC semi-final at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
Conal Keaney is last man standing in Dublin’s changing room. The floor is being swept. Anthony Daly dances past.
“They letting you lads back into the dressing room again lads?”
They aren’t but Keaney is all alone so we gently approach.
Kilkenny know all about the Ballyboden/St Enda man. Sure, he flaked and mesmerised them as far back as 2004. Another one of those days when Dublin threatened but were unable to finish off the greatest team of the modern era, perhaps any era.
Was it satisfying that at least a decent performance came out of Dublin in championship, Conal?
“I suppose it was. We know the standard that we have here in the squad. We never really show it on the big day. I don’t think we did it today either. We are disappointed that we didn’t finish the game but fair play to Kilkenny they really stuck at it and ground out that result.
“Here again next Saturday so bring it on.”
Next questioned was a little ill-advised: will Dublin be better?
“Huh? Will we be better?”
Cold stare. Too late now.
Yes, will you be better?
“I don’t know. Will Kilkenny be any better?”
Probably. Yes, we murmur.
“We’ll need to be better so.”
Mercifully, someone changes course. The much-talked about hurling revolution was ruptured by Kilkenny this time last year – 18 points was the difference between the teams.
Dublin had a shed-load of injuries. They got it wrong and fell out the championship trap door ever so meekly down in Ennis at the hands of Daly’s own people.
That hurt. The Kilkenny game embarrassed them.
Collective pride refused to allow it happen yesterday.
“It is the total opposite to last year. Bar the weather. That was pretty much the same. Miserable, wet day. There was a huge crowd here last year expecting us to win and this year there was no talk about it. We were coming in under the radar.
“Look, it will be the same thing. I’m sure they will have Michael Fennelly and Henry back. All the greats. The backlash of Kilkenny. You only get one chance and all this stuff but we are still in the championship and we are going to have a crack at Kilkenny next Saturday.”
“Realistically, the only possibility is Jackie Tyrrell,” said Cody
“We never use the excuse of being short players. We had 15 players and that’s it. That shouldn’t have any bearing on the game.
“Obviously we would love to have everybody available but you got to live and die by who is on the field.”