Daly glad to be playing with full deck for Kilkenny clash


Dublin will have several muscular operators back to thunder into Kilkenny pillars come the Leinster hurling semi-final tomorrow week in Portlaoise

ANTHONY DALY wasn’t certain but he thinks Cork beat the Dublin hurlers by two points on Wednesday night at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.

Daly was too preoccupied, flinging hurlers on and off, to be a slave to arithmetic.

“We pulled them out of work for the trip down so we have to be playing all of them.

“I think it was level around 55 minutes but they pulled out by two. I think it was something mad like 3-21 to 1-25.”

Bet the house that was the exact score.

“It was a bit challenge matchy,” he added, yet still the value for Dublin, and Cork ahead of their Munster semi-final against Tipperary on Sunday week, was not being dismissed. This was an opportunity for Daly to look over a near full-strength panel.

The cruciate tears – Tomás Brady, Conal Keaney and Stephen Hiney – have healed, ensuring three muscular operators return to thunder into Kilkenny pillars come the Leinster semi-final tomorrow week in Portlaoise.

“We had a bit of a scare with (Alan) McCrabbe during the week but there is a great pliability about him; he looked like he’d been killed but he’s okay. He’ll have to skip the weekend but he’ll be available for selection.

“He landed on the ankle and we thought there was a chance of a crack but there was no crack. He had an MRI Monday so he’ll be back for Tuesday night training.

“Martin Quilty is obviously out out and Paul Schutte will be back training the weekend but wouldn’t be in consideration for Kilkenny.”

Other highly-rated, yet injury-cursed, players David Treacy, Ross O’Carroll and David “Dotsy” O’Callaghan have also returned to the fold.

It all means the Clare man, in his fourth season in charge, can finally select from Dublin’s impressive depth of senior talent.

“Day by day we are getting a bit stronger. We’ll have the strongest bench we’ve had since we landed, which is great because that’s what you are hoping for.

“Nights like last night are

good. Tomás played for 50 minutes no bother and Conal played the whole match, even though we popped him in full (forward) for the last 15 minutes and Stephen played every bit of it as well. Dave Treacy played 40 minutes so again, trying to mind him.”

Ryan O’Dwyer broke his nose but as Daly explained, “That wouldn’t do him any harm.”

On the meeting of Clare and Waterford in Sunday’s other Munster semi-final, Daly feels former team-mate Davy Fitzgerald’s return from managing Waterford will prove the difference.

“I’ve a slight fancy for Clare. Fitzy will know Waterford very well but you can never write off Waterford in championship either; they’re going to come out fighting.

“For the Clare lads there’s a bit of expectation built up that they’re going to win and then the footballers won last week and there’s a bit about the two Clare teams getting to the Munster final and that’s kind of added to the pressure a little bit.

“In a funny way the pressure is more on Clare than Waterford. I see Stephen Frampton this morning saying that but I’m sure Fitzy knows what he’s doing at this stage and will have a few plans up his sleeve.

“I’m hearing all sorts of things about team rumours but I’m trying to ignore them all because you just don’t know.”