Dublin chairman Andy Kettle hoping Anthony Daly stays at the helm to guide the fortunes of the county’s senior hurlers
Team captain John McCaffrey also endorses the current management team and says the players will be ‘mad for road’ again
Dublin manager Anthony Daly moves to console his crestfallen players following Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Cork at Croke Park. Colm O’Neill/Inpho
Dublin have made it clear that they want Anthony Daly to remain in charge of the hurlers following the defeat by Cork in Sunday’s epic All-Ireland senior semi-final.
County chair Andy Kettle told The Irish Times that whereas the immediate aftermath wasn’t the time to talk about it – he also refused to comment on the controversial sending-off of Ryan O’Dwyer, which was a defining moment of the match – he was hopeful the Clare All-Ireland-winning captain would stay on after five years in charge that have transformed the county’s standing.
“The subject wasn’t even broached apart from Anthony’s reference in the media conference: that there’d probably be more people lining up to take Dublin on than there were when he took over. There’s no hurry and the management can take its time and depending on that the county committee will dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s.
“But do we hope that he’ll stay? Absolutely.”
Daly and his management team of long-time lieutenant Richie Stakelum, Shane Martin and Ciarán Hetherton also received an enthusiastic endorsement from team captain John McCaffrey, who also said that he didn’t think any of the players would walk away.
“From the players’ point of view, there’s no one too old or that and everyone will be mad for road again. I hope obviously that the management will stay on as well. I’m sure they’re not going to be saying anything now but everyone knows from the players’ point of view how well we think of them and we’re hopeful that everyone in the dressingroom will stay together.”
Although there’s no immediate hurry, Kettle said he was confident the process of appointment would be completed more quickly than last year when Daly was unsure whether he’d continue after a disappointing 2012.
“Last year was a longer process,” said Kettle, “as he had to get the commitment of the players to his staying on but once he had that, it was straightforward.”
The county chair said he felt the future was bright notwithstanding a poor year for Dublin at underage with neither the under-21s nor minors featuring at an advanced stage of the championship.
“There’s a brave lot of young lads coming through: Mark Schutte and Eamonn Dillon who came on yesterday, Seán McGrath on the bench and younger lads on the extended panel. There’s no lack of talent and I don’t see any of the current lads retiring. The senior players have played better than ever this year.”
He also said that he felt the progress of the senior hurlers would have a bearing on the career choices made by talented up-and-coming dual players.
The issue came into focus this year when two outstanding talents, Ciarán Kilkenny and Cormac Costello, both decided to go with Jim Gavin’s footballers although the former has emphasised his desire to play with the hurlers at some future date.
“What has come across is that these guys have to make a decision. Ciarán Kilkenny and Cormac Costello played under-21 this year and didn’t stand out, which showed their lack of hurling involvement up to that. The day of the dual player is gone and has been for a while.
“What this squad of hurlers have done is give a kick up the tail to the idea that you’ll play at a higher level with the footballers. They’ve taken the county to a new level. . . . they now know they can compete with the best.”
This has been a big year for the county hurlers, winning a first Leinster title in 52 years and beating Kilkenny along the way. Sunday’s crowd of 62,092 was the largest to have watched the Dublin hurlers since the 1961 All-Ireland final when 67,866 attended their narrow defeat by Tipperary.
“They played at times before two men and a dog,” said Kettle of the county’s hurlers. “There was a day not too long ago when we played Derry in the league and there weren’t 20 supporters there. We always had good hurlers but in the past there were never enough of them . . .
“We went into this as Leinster champions for the first time in over 50 years, straight in the front door having beaten two of the best teams in the country but Kilkenny and Galway will be back playing at the top of their game next year. Achievements count for nothing in the new season and everything’s back to scratch but we’ll look forward to starting again.
“Right now though I’m anxious that the players can pick themselves up and get back to their clubs for the county championship.”