Dubs hoping to maintain positive vibes

DUBLIN boss John McEvoy is hoping the feel good factor generated from last Saturday’s senior championship success will help his team beat Offaly tonight.

“It was a fantastic win for Dublin hurling and the whole county is enjoying the route that the seniors have taken,” he said

“We’re trying to look at the U21 grade in isolation but the senior success does provide a certain impetus and hopefully it will rub off on us. We were delighted, especially as Liam Rushe and Daire Plunkett emerged unscathed. They were back in training with us the following morning at 11.30am when we had a light workout.”

Dublin have made three changes to their starting 15 for the game from the team that defeated Carlow at thequarter-final stage.

Darren Kelly starts at full-back, Mark Schutte will play right half-forward and Ciarán Brennan is drafted in at left corner-forward with Stephen O’Connor, Barry Mulligan and Sean McGrath the trio to lose out. Niall McMorrow and Odhrán Ó Maoileidigh were not available for selection due to injury.

“Ciarán came on and got two very important goals against Carlow,” said McEvoy.

“He had a very good attitude and was unlucky not to start but he’s been rewarded with a starting place now tonight. The goals killed that game off but we had started slowly enough. We sent in a lot of poor ball and we’ll have to look at that.”

Opponents Offaly have four senior panellists in their lineup in corner-back Chris McDonald, centre-back Eanna Murphy, wing-back Brian Mulrooney and corner-forward Tom Carroll. Manager Paddy Kirwan, an uncle of inter-county refereeDiarmuid, is hopeful the county can improve on last year’s Leinster U21HC showing when they lost to Kilkenny by 29 points.

“Last year everything went wrong for us against Kilkenny and we were beaten heavily. But two years ago we hurled very well against Kilkenny and could have beaten them.

“The U21 grade is very unpredictable. But our seniors showed against Dublin when no one gave them a chance that Offaly teams can perform. When Offaly hurling is at its lowest, we can often surprise.”

DUBLIN U21H: G McManus; B O’Carroll, D Kelly, J Doughan; D Curran, M Quilty, C Gough; D Sutcliffe, D Plunkett; M Schutte, L Rushe, R Mahon; K O’Loughlin, E Dillon, C Brennan.

OFFALY U21H: S Corcoran; D Magnier, S Coughlan, C McDonald; D Short, E Murphy, B Mulrooney; M Ryan, T Spain; S Cleary, G Conneely, S Kinsella; S Gardiner, A Hynes, T Carroll.

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