KILKENNY’S fierce reputation for hammering teams could be undermining the belief of opponents, it has been suggested by a leading figure in hurling.
Dublin manager, Anthony Daly, was at a loss to explain the wretched form of his charges in Saturday’s Leinster senior semi-final against the current National League, Leinster and All-Ireland champions. Training went well, the feedback from the players was good and right down to the warm up routine Dublin looked ready for business, the former All-Ireland winning captain suggested. Then nothing!
“We didn’t seem to have a go at all,” Daly said as he shook his head when trying to work out the ‘no show’ effort from his team. “That is the most disappointing thing. Being beaten by Kilkenny is not a shock to my system or anyone elses.
“It is a shock how poor we were on the day. That is the bit I am shocked about.”
Later he added an interesting piece about the oppsoition: “I suppose this reputation is gone so big now that teams are struggling to cope with it. I don’t know is that exactly the answer either. It is hard to have answers now I am so disappointed with our own performance.”
Any reason for collapse?
The Dublin boss was asked had he any reason at all why his team might have performed so poorly?
“The guy who can figure out that will be a wealthy man,” he said, trying to utter a chuckle. “There was no indication in training that our hurling would be so poor. I know Laois weren’t good in the first round but we could put moves together and we could pick the ball first time. Out there we looked like we couldn’t rise the ball.
“I don’t know why. The warm up looked very good. Fellows first touches looked great. I don’t know. We didn’t even focus on a result. We focused on a performance. What all the experts will tell you is you get the best out of yourselves. That is the most disappointing thing. We didn’t perform at all.”
In trying to solve the Dublin puzzle he didn’t want to take a thing from Kilkenny through his comments, he insisted. The Cats, he added, were simply themselves again. They did what they do best. They did it again. They do it in most places, whether it is warm or wet, Croke Park or Portlaois.
“They consistently deliver a fair level of performance,” he offered. “We just didn’t do that.”
The National League final between Kilkenny and Cork was over after 10 minutes or so because of the ferocious power in the Noresiders play.
“A good few people starting tipping us during the week,” Daly continued. “I couldn’t figure that out. I thought Kilkenny were very impressive in the League final. I thought Cork had come with a fair run. Then they were blown away. You wonder were Cork as poor as they appeared on the day.
“I can take being beaten and all that. You will have more bad days than good one in this game unless you are from Kilkenny. When you freeze and can’t make simple hand passes, find a loose man a few yards away or dropped the ball, I don’t know. It is hard to explain that, because that wasn’t the indications the players had given off in training.”
Have “a cut” at Kilkenny
He said he saw no reason why teams couldn’t and shouldn’t have “a cut” at Kilkenny. From his own playing experience getting the chance to play against the best, which Kilkneny were, should be an inspiration to opponents.
“You should love to be going out against lads like that,” he said of the chance of playing against Kilkenny. “You would have nothing to lose. It was almost as if we showed them too much respect. Again that doesn’t explain how poor our hurling was.
“We trained on Thursday night in a deluge, in similar conditions to what was out there. The striking was good and the first touch looked good. Dunno! Dunno,” he said as he shook his head. “I will have to give it a lot of thought.”
He said that deep down he was sure that Dublin were much better than the scorline from the match would suggest.
“We didn’t get it out of ourselves for whatever reason,” he said again. “What can we do but get together and try and sort it all out. The only thing that would console me, and it is hard to be consoled now, is that all indications in challenge games – we scored 1-26 against Cork – were that we are better than that. Hopefully if we do come with a performance the next day that we will put a bit of respect back in the Dublin jersey.”