Dublin hurling and how minor tales tell a major story

David Treacy understands why so many players have chosen to concentrate on football

Dublin’s David Treacy says team are aiming for a consistent level of performance in this summer’s championship. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Dublin’s David Treacy says team are aiming for a consistent level of performance in this summer’s championship. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

 

Nobody trusts the Dublin hurlers. Their return to championship action on Saturday night in Croke Park against a Wexford team brimming with graduates from their vintage under-21s is met, naturally enough, with questions about their constant inconsistency.

Listening to David Treacy remember heady days as a minor, way back in 2005 to 2007, cannot but be tinged with a sense of what could have been.

Or what never could have been because of the cruel lure of football.

Football is always the overriding context Dublin hurling gets trapped in. Last week Johnny Cooper had just spoken at the AIG jersey gathering about the time he hurled against Kilkenny in Nowlan Park, as a minor hurler, when Treacy was only a 16-year-old sub. The wealth of talent is something to glance back upon.

“Yeah, in 2006, first year minor, I was in fourth year,” said Treacy.

Amazing

“I was actually a sub that day. Still see all those lads. You know those Facebook memories, 10 years ago today, so the lads were sharing it. The likes of Ross O’Carroll, Cian McBride. All those faces that have still broken through just from that 2006 match. It’s amazing.”

So many of them, when it came to choosing a path, went big ball over sliotar.

“It’s their decision to make, I chose hurling. I would have played football all the way up to a high level and I won an under-21 championship with Cuala. If you have to make a decision and if it’s what you think you are going enjoy the most, then go for it. You can’t really knock a fella if he’s going to go into the football set-up with a chance of winning an All-Ireland. We can’t force lads to go and play hurling, you know.”

Second Captains

Imagine Rory O’Carroll or Diarmuid Connolly had become a beacon in the Dublin hurlers defence. Or Tomás Brady choose to become a starting hurler over fringe footballer.

“I suppose, yeah, but we only have what we have to choose from. If a fella decides to play a different sport, or go with the football, there’s no issue. Obviously, we’d love all these lads hurling, we’d love to have a load of soccer players, and I’m sure Gaelic players would love to have a load of soccer players. You can’t knock a fella for choosing a different path.”

Inconsistent

Anthony DalyGer Cunningham

Not much changed last year with Galway destroying them, before Limerick halted any progress.

No Danny Sutcliffe – an All star in 2013 – this year. Peter Kelly is unfit for service, along with a bundle of others, like Cian Boland and exam-laden Colm Cronin.

Regardless, nobody trusts the Dublin hurlers. The league merely re-enforced this with a heavy defeat to Tipperary followed by clean wins over Galway, Cork and Waterford, before Kilkenny confined them to Division 1A mediocrity.

“I think every team wants to be consistent,” says Treacy. “From the outside looking in it’s probably frustrating to see us one week where we’re world beaters and then the next week we can get beaten by anyone.

“It’s something we are working on. I thought during the league we had a good run, especially after Tipp.

“We put in three good ones against three oppositions. At the end it was quite flat but we were happy enough with those three performances in a row and if we can build on that and hopefully put that together during the championship, then we’ll be happy enough.”

This summer is not necessarily going to be about the old order holding sway. “At this stage you could arguably say seven or eight teams are going to win the All-Ireland.”

It’s not that Treacy is wrong but he isn’t right either. Only Tipperary (2010) and Clare (2013) have broken Kilkenny’s hold on Liam McCarthy dating back to 2006.

And in the next breath Treacy says as much in reference to the excellence of Clare in the league final replay.

World of good

“They’ll be very difficult to beat with that momentum that they’ve got over the two matches because the manner in which they won would have done their confidence the world of good. I think every team are ones we have to look out for.

“You saw against Limerick, you can’t count out any side. On their day, any team can beat any team in the hurling championship. That’s why it’s been so entertaining over the last couple of years.”

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