Daly: league switch to Croker will boost rivals

ANTHONY DALY has admitted Dublin’s hurlers will lose a considerable advantage by the decision to switch their forthcoming Division One home games against Tipperary and Kilkenny from Parnell Park to Croke Park.

Daly’s side beat the reigning All-Ireland champions by nine points at the Donnycarney venue last year and while he supports the move to headquarters to stage the games as part of double-headers with the footballers’ NFL fixtures, he feels their opponents don’t like coming to Parnell Park.

Speaking after watching his team beat the Dubs Stars in Castleknock on Saturday, the Clare native said: “I’d say Tipp and Kilkenny are looking forward to it as well. There is an element about Parnell Park and we might be harder to beat in there. But it (Croke Park) is great experience and you have to look at the bigger picture.

“If you’re a player isn’t it a fantastic thing to be looking forward to,playing under lights at Croker against the top two teams in the country? Where can you buy that? All the lads will be really looking forward to that. It’s a great opportunity.”

Daly used the annual exhibition game on Russell Park’s all-weather pitch to give former Tipperary player Ryan O’Dwyer his first run-out in a Dublin jersey and the manager was happy with the centre-forward’s display, which saw him score a point after 20 seconds and add another after the break. He brings certain qualities to the equation; he won’t be for going back, that’s for sure,” enthused Daly. “He’s a right one. I saw him a lot as a minor and at under-21 coming up as a young lad when I was still with Clare.

“They gave him trials for the seniors and I thought he was a hardy boy. You can’t buy the qualities he brings. There were a lot of lads who played well there like Declan O’Dwyer who wasn’t on the panel this time last year.

“Hopefully, the strength in depth will grow because we picked up a few injuries on our first day out —unbelievable. What can you do? It was a good sign it was full-blooded.”

Former inter-county footballer Shane Ryan lasted just 14 minutes after pulling up with a leg injury. His loss was Niall McMorrow’s gain, though, as the speedy Ballyboden St Enda’s forward scored a goal with virtually his first touch after coming on for Ryan on his way to scoring a handsome 2-3.

“Niall would be a top-of-the-ground man and on the astro he would be hard to mark. Plus, he’s a nice bit of work done in the gym and obviously would have been involved with Boden late into the end of the year so these lads have a bit of an advantage. We rate Niall as a serious prospect and hopefully that’ll be a great confidence boost for him.”

McMorrow added another two points before the break to help Dublin into a 1-12 to 1-4 interval lead after Conor McCormack responded for the Dubs Stars with a tapped-in goal. However, McMorrow pounced to find the net once more in the 49th minute to put 10 points between the sides.

By then it was game over, although Shane Durkin scored a second goal for the Dubs Stars with four minutes to go. However, it was mere consolation after McMorrow and his fellow Dublin forwards — all six starting in attack scored by the 14th minute — had inflicted the damage.

Scorers: Dublin: N McMorrow 2-3; A McCrabbe (two frees), D O’Dwyer 0-3 each; R O’Dwyer, P Kelly, L Rushe 0-2 each; S Ryan, M O’Brien, J Boland, J McCaffrey (one ‘65) 0-1 each.

Dubs Stars: P Ryan 0-4 (three frees); C McCormack, S Durkin 1-1 each; D Plunkett 0-3; C McBride 0-2; S Loughlin, M Travers 0-1 each.

DUBLIN: F McGarry; R Trainor, T Brady, O Gough; J Sheanon, J Boland; N Corcoran; J McCaffrey, M O’Brien; P Kelly, R O’Dwyer, L Rushe; S Ryan, D O’Dwyer, A McCrabbe. Subs: N McMorrow for Ryan (14); M Quilty for T Brady, R Walsh for Gough, C Clinton for McCaffrey, S Lambert for Rushe (all half-time); Rushe for Lambert (46)

DUBS STARS: G Maguire; M May, D Spain, M O’Sullivan; R O’Loughlin, S Nolan, M Travers; S Durkin, C Kellett; S Loughlin, C McCormack, D Plunkett; T Connolly, C McBride, P Ryan. Subs: C Doyle for May, D Connolly for Loughlin (both half-time).

Referee: D O’Donovan (St Mark’s).

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