‘Hurling mad’ Kenny won’t fancy Dublin losing to native Galway
Cuala star David Treacy says former Cuala manager working hard in new county role
Dublin’s David Treacy at the launch of Future Proof Media. “We’ve put in a good few weeks of training. The guys are well accustomed to him now, they’re well used to him [Kenny]”. Photograph: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
“He’s just hurling mad,” says David Treacy, “and a couple of other words too.”
Treacy is describing new Dublin hurling manager Mattie Kenny in nothing but complimentary terms, and he should know. Treacy also reckons that madness spilling over in Dublin can only be a good thing.
Before he took over the role in November, following Pat Gilroy’s sudden departure after one year, Kenny worked with Treacy as manager of Dublin club Cuala, during which time he guided them to three successive Dublin titles, plus back-to-back Leinster and All-Ireland titles in 2017 and 2018.
The connection has already spilled over in other ways. Treacy’s younger brother and Cuala team-mate, Seán, has recommitted to Dublin after a break, as has Cuala’s Mark Schutte and Darragh O’Connell, only Treacy also suggests it’s not just an extension of that former club set-up. County roles naturally demand extra attention and motivation, and Kenny won’t be shy on that either.
The first big show of it comes in Sunday’s Walsh Cup semi-final against Kenny’s native Galway, the county he played for from 1988-92, and also served as a selector in 2012 under then manager Anthony Cunningham. The one thing certain about that game is that Galway is the last team Kenny will fancy losing to.
“He doesn’t want to lose any game,” says Treacy. “We’d be playing him in golf and he refuses to lose in anything. He’s just that sort of personality.
“And this one especially. He knows, he’s obviously living up there, Galway have a point to prove. It’s their first outing. So it’s a case of they’ll want to start off hitting the ground running. And he’s obviously heard what he’s heard up there.
“So it’s about trying to win every game and trying to get good tests at this time of year and gives him an opportunity to play everyone. You’ve seen he’s played 33 or 34 players in the Walsh Cup so far and he’s kind of trying to make sure he’s giving everyone a chance.”
Treacy will likely miss Sunday’s game after sustaining a hamstring injury in the win over Offaly but he says his motivation for the 2019 season has only been heightened by Kenny’s arrival.
“This is my 11th season with Dublin, would you believe? Coffin-dodger they’re calling me, at 29. But you can tell when you speak with him how passionate he [Kenny] is. He’s very determined and very ambitious. Even from speaking with him, it does translate to players. We’ve put in a good few weeks of training. The guys are well accustomed to him now, they’re well used to him.
“It is different because it’s a completely different set-up and a completely different group of players. Yes, we know Mattie obviously really, really well. But again, we have a different hurling coach. We have Conor [Clifford, S&C coach] from last year. Paul O’Brien is involved as well, and Eoin Roche.
“So it’s new for us too. Plus this is my first time with Dublin in January since 2015, I haven’t played this side of the year in so long. So it’s still obviously fresh for a lot of the guys. Obviously we know Mattie but there’s still a lot of the other things that we’re trying to get accustomed to.”
Treacy insists the injury won’t sideline him for long: “This time of year, it’s about making sure I get it right. And while Mattie is looking at a whole host of players, there’s no point in rushing back. Because I don’t want to be pulling up in the middle of the league when I’m week-in week-out. It’s more of a precautionary thing now at the minute. I know my own body at this stage, the difference between tightness that’s going to pull and tightness that you can play through.”
The chance to play alongside his brother Seán offers further incentive, and Treacy also singles out another Cuala team-mate Seán Moran for a big season with Dublin, “a fantastic player, fantastic reader of a game”.
Also part of the motivation is the success of girlfriend and two-time Dublin women’s All-Ireland winner Sinead Goldrick.
“I know how hard she works and what they’re trying to achieve this year, it’s getting off to another great start. And it’s all just down to hard work on their part. It’s funny, I’d be training Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and she’d be Monday, Wednesday, Friday. They say that’s why we get on so well!”