Peter Kelly has learned the hard way the Dublin can’t get ahead of themselves
They watched last year’s Leinster final in the pub but the build-up this time has been ideal
There was small irony then that it was also him who couldn’t hold on to the last Kilkenny puck-out in the drawn game, leading to the skirmish from which TJ Reid score the equaliser. Not that he – or they – dwelt on it any longer than they needed to.
“It was a strange feeling because we knew that we had played well. And even the manner of the draw wasn’t too bad, in that we got a point to go ahead when it really mattered. That was the winning of the game. They took the puck-out and if we had managed to clear the ball anywhere down the field, the referee would have blown it up there and then.
“But the whole thing came down to the break of a ball and when it broke their way, they got the equaliser. To us, it just so happened to be a draw. It wasn’t like we threw it away. So the initial disappointment was fairly easy to put aside. It was gone by the time we got on the team bus.
“Obviously you are going to be replaying things in your mind, saying, ‘If only I had gone for the break.’ But it didn’t all come down to the last minute of the game – there were 70 minutes before that as well.”
So here they are. In a Leinster final, almost without knowing it. The big advantage of a rocky road is that you only have eyes for the bit in front of you. The destination is another day’s work, to be worried about when it arrives. Dublin have learned that lesson the hard way, staring at a pub TV with their drinks turning to vinegar.
“We know what we fell down on last year. We bought too much into the build-up. We know we did and we know the effect it had on us. This time we just focused on ourselves. That’s what we have to do, we have to be about Dublin and not the opposition.”
It’s the only way that works. Always has been.