Dublin happy to retain their elite status

The squad will train for another fortnight before the players return to play for their respective clubs in the county championship

Dublin’s Michael Carton (left) and Séamus Prendergast of Waterford contest possession during Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1A relegation play-off at  Walsh Park. Photograph: Ken Sutton

Dublin’s Michael Carton (left) and Séamus Prendergast of Waterford contest possession during Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1A relegation play-off at Walsh Park. Photograph: Ken Sutton

 

Anthony DalyNational Hurling LeagueWaterford

The Dubs gave their hosts a five-point start – Derek McGrath’s Deise men also registered the last three points of the contest – before emerging comfortable winners, to the extent they could afford a handful of sloppy wides as the game petered out to a conclusion, thereby ending a losing sequence of 11 years in Waterford

This in essence was a championship match in March and in that respect Dublin were happy to win and retain their elite league status, a point embraced by wing-back Michael Carton.

“We know how hard it is to get out of (Division) 1B. Limerick have been down there a few years. They are a fantastic hurling team and it was the last place we wanted to be (but) sure look, the relegation match last year the two teams ended up in the All-Ireland final, so I’ll take it with a pinch of salt,” he smiled.

“It is a very hard league and there was a puck of a ball between a quarter-final and a relegation battle. I think Waterford are very unlucky to be where they are and thank God it is not us. It’s a bit of relief.

“I suppose we knew it would be a hard battle coming down here. They beat us well three weeks ago and it’s a tough ground out there for hurling and we knew it wouldn’t be pretty, but we didn’t mind once we got the result.”

Waterford offered a muscular presence under the high ball and their direct style helped them to the early lead. The frailties that had pockmarked Dublin’s performances at times during previous league matches resurfaced periodically; over-elaborate in their patterns and refusing simple points, while also drifting in and out a little mentally.

Applied themselves
When they applied themselves they hurled nicely despite the sticky conditions. They’d prefer a drier sod. There is a long gap to their first Leinster Hurling Championship outing in June.

Carton explained: “Ten weeks is a long time but we’ll train for two weeks with Dublin and then be let go to the clubs.

“There will be two tough rounds of the Dublin club championship in four weeks’ time, so we have to be hurling well, all of us, in the club championship and they (the Dublin management) will take that into account.”

Daly acknowledged as much when he ventured: “We’ll give the clubs a fair rattle. We’ll try to have them (the Dublin team) right now for June, 16th. I think it’s against Wexford or a group winner; Laois put up a right battle with my own county Clare, so you don’t know who you’ll meet.”

He also suggested there were very fine margins between being involved in a relegation tussle and competing for a place in the semi-final.

“I know you could point to missed chances against Tipp the previous week, but really what cost us was Salthill, losing by 13 down there was the difference between being in a relegation play-off and the league quarter-final.

“Hopefully Dublin will get the three homes games next year because the three away games are tough.”

What might have pleased him most is that when his team were pushed to perform they responded positively. It wasn’t perfect, far from it, and there’s no doubt Shane O’Sullivan’s sending off had a big bearing on the contest.

But Dublin found a way to win and that’s a knack the team will want to take with them into the summer.

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