Dublin captain Chris Crummey admits he felt mixed emotions as the county secured their All-Ireland survival in Parnell Park last Saturday week only to discover they missed out on Sunday’s Leinster final.
As Dublin’s win over Galway concluded earlier than the Wexford-Kilkenny game, Mattie Kenny’s men were left waiting to discover their fate having knocked last year’s All-Ireland runners-up out of the Championship.
Crummey won’t say he was deflated when it was confirmed the draw in Wexford Park had secured Wexford and Kilkenny’s provincial final places on the basis of score difference but the feeling was unusual.
“Before the Galway game, we viewed it as a Leinster semi-final: if we won it, we’d be in a Leinster final. If we lost it, we were out. So just after the final whistle, your initial thought is ‘Yes, we’re in a Leinster final. Brilliant.’ And then, 15 minutes later when you hear you’re not in a Leinster final, it’s a bit bitter-sweet.
On reflection, after their hard luck story in last year’s Championship when they lead all four of the Leinster group games in the closing stages only to win one, being on the right side of score difference to survive wasn’t the worst way to remain in the competition.
And then taking a scalp like Galway at home only made it more special. “The whole occasion, the fact that it was in Parnell Park and I suppose the near misses of the last few years were tough, especially Kilkenny in Parnell Park last year.
“When you have the win in your hand and it’s taken from you in the last second…that’s tough. But it was knock-out hurling. So a win means so much more than the first game in the Championship.
“I think we just did what we were doing for longer. In other games, we had our plan and we did it for 45/50 minutes. But in the Galway game, we just didn't deviate from it or we didn’t drop our intensity levels.
“If anything, we increased it. We outscored them in the last 10 minutes. So I just think it’s really a case of changing what we were doing in other games. It’s a case of doing it for longer periods.”
Chris Crummey was speaking at the launch of the new Leisureplex teens and students package. For more information, visit www.leisureplex.ie