Picked on the half-forward line, Rushe has his eye on a role closer to goal
But the All Star is happy to serve where Anthony Daly needs him. GAVIN CUMMISKEYreports
LIAM RUSHE wants to play full forward for 70 minutes. Just like he did as a kid – way back in 2009.
Not many followers of Dublin hurling will complain about that as his natural power and granite knuckles mark him out as a potential nightmare for Kilkenny’s much-decorated last line.
It’s just that some situations call for Rushe’s impressive frame to be employed on the opposition half backs or around the middle third. Or at centre back, where he excelled at under-21.
The 22-year-old is selected at left half forward by Anthony Daly for tomorrow’s game, but is still hoping to get a chance nearer the goal. “Hopefully, it’ll be full forward for a game for 70 minutes for once. I don’t mind, plans change and you’d be a fool to set out a game plan and stick to it then if it’s not going right.”
“I understand being rotated around. Last year, it was more tumultuous than usual – I didn’t stop moving around. This year, once we can keep a relatively clear injury list I should be grand.
“Yeah, it would be nice to be given a position and stick there. I was full forward when I came on first and unfortunately, we had a two-man full-forward line and got McCrabber an All-Star by working hard!
“I still haven’t gotten thanks or any money for that!”
The constant shifting in 2011 was down to Ryan O’Dwyer not always being on the field. Conal Keaney was also missing. Both are well-built target men, well able to stand up to Kilkenny hurlers.
“There’ll be no quarter asked or given in this game – there never is. We haven’t really been bullied the past few years, just disappointing performances, and we probably overemphasised the physical element and looked to get stuck in too much and forgot about playing the past few times we’ve played them.
“Sure, what did we get there – a 19-point loss against them two years ago?”
Kilkenny’s muscle shouldn’t hold sway in Portlaoise tomorrow but with the aforementioned figures all fit and back in harness, goals are expected to be as much a Dublin strength as they are Kilkenny’s trump card.
“It was probably a failing last year. Had we managed to get one against Tipp, we probably would have made the All-Ireland final. It’s difficult when you’re playing a two-man full-forward line. It’s all about movement, really, isn’t it, and that’s what we’ve been working on.
“It all comes back to who you’ve got available. Last year, if we had a few more bodies in the right spots we never would have had a two-man full-forward line and we would have got a few goals. It’s just working on movement, trying to change mindset, getting your half forwards running off your full forwards and stuff like that.
“Kilkenny and Tipp have been doing it the last 10 years and we’re basically just starting it now.”
The Kilkenny record in the Leinster championship is lodged in his memory bank.
“It’s daunting when you look at it. The last game they lost in Leinster was a last-minute goal in ’04 against Wexford and before that it was another four or five years. It’s an impressive record and it’s not for nothing they have it. They’re a tight team, defensively, and they have obviously have fantastic players.
“That’s the problem when you start saying that – it sounds like a really daunting task. We’ll just go out and give it a lash like we did last year against Tipp.”