Dunne’s mind games aren’t helping Model prospects

There’s a burning question which must be asked ahead of the Dublin v Wexford replay this evening: what the hell does Liam Dunne think he achieved last week with all the shenanigans around the naming of the team?

Dunne’s mind games aren’t helping Model prospects

Did he really think he was going to upset Dublin? Because it didn’t look like that to me, Dublin six points to one up after 12 minutes and looking like they were going to run away with the game. In fact it looked like he upset his own players and it took them a while to adapt.

What does it say to your players if you don’t have the confidence to name nearly half of them to the starting 15 before a ball is thrown in?

It was an absolutely pointless exercise. If Liam’s intention was to draw attention to himself and away from the players and the game then fine, it achieved that. Anyway, I see he has now named what should be the starting 15 team for this evening — let’s wait and see if it’s more mind games.

What Dunne should concentrate on is getting his players to play quality hurling because they didn’t do it last week. Their touch was brutal, mis-hitting balls, failing to control, failing to drive on when they had Dublin at their mercy. The hurlers are there, old stagers like Keith Rossiter, Harry Kehoe, Eoin Quigley and Rory Jacob, youngsters like Gareth Sinnott, Lee Chin and Jack Guiney. Forget the mind games with the media, opposition, Croke Park and concentrate on getting the players right. That’s what this is about, the players; it should not be about the manager.

With Dublin, Anthony Daly has his hands full. Like Wexford they have the players but what’s happening to them?

Two years ago they were threatening the big breakthrough, now that same team and almost all those same players are performing as though they’ve forgotten how to hurl. They too were brutal last Sunday, just as they were brutal in their final championship game last year, the loss against Clare in Ennis.

They seem to have lost confidence and their way. A pity, because I know they’re putting in a massive effort as I’m sure Wexford are doing. Both those teams need to get a bit slicker in their play, Dublin particularly so.

It won’t have done Dublin any good to have lost that Leinster U21 championship game in midweek in Parnell Park and against Carlow. Back in Parnell Park for this one, they need to bring a bit of pride back to Dublin hurling. For that reason I’m going for a Dublin win.

A lot of people are quite excited by the fact Laois are in a Leinster semi-final but who did they beat to get here? Westmeath and Carlow. I know Galway have beaten no-one at all, an automatic right as reigning Leinster champions to a semi-final place, but people need to get real.

This has the potential to be a total mismatch. Cast your mind back to the last few years and the beatings Laois have suffered, then consider this — in their last five head-to-head meetings, Galway have absolutely hammered Laois by an average margin well into double scores.

I know there’s great work being done in hurling in Laois, I know Seamus Plunkett is a good hurling man, passionate about his native county and knowledgeable about the game. Seamus has the best players in Laois back in the jersey, he has them on a winning streak. Guys like Willie Hyland, Zane Keenan, Cahir Healy, Joe Fitzpatrick and Matthew Whelan, these fellas would grace any jersey, but the problem for them is that at county level you need 15 of those guys. The last time I saw Laois in Portlaoise was against Cork two years ago and they shipped 10 goals. I don’t see that happening tomorrow, nor anything like it, but I don’t see Laois winning either.

Galway to reach another Leinster final.

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