Dunne set to bring ‘winning’ mentality

BASED on his experiences with Liam Dunne in Oulart-the-Ballagh, discipline is the vital ingredient the new Wexford manager will bring to the inter-county fold, argues Keith Rossiter.

Having attended training sessions the mornings after their 2009 and 2010 county successes with Dunne, he has a full understanding of what’s in store for him and his county team-mates.

It won’t be pretty but, going by his club’s triumphs, effective it certainly will be.

“When you’re winning, it just makes things a lot easier,” said the defender. “We haven’t been winning for a couple of years — the records are there to show it.

“Discipline can drop a little bit and younger guys can say ‘Why are we putting the effort in when we have nothing to show for it?’

“But look it’s not easy and it’s a job that has to be done. It has to be instilled into us, I suppose.

“Most of the Oulart lads have it. We’re going on year-in, year-out with Oulart so we know what discipline is but it’s just a matter of bringing it into the Wexford set-up, pushing on with that and instilling it into every player.”

Naturally, Rossiter’s biased but he already views Dunne’s appointment as a sign of progress for Wexford.

“John Meyler did a great job and got us to an All-Ireland semi-final. Colm Bonnar got us out of Division Two. That was a preliminary objective for him and he did it. They did their jobs, now it’s time to move on to another level.

“I suppose you could say the big talk in Wexford was a Wexford man needed to get the job and a Wexford man has the job now so there’s nowhere to hide now. He’s in place, his backroom team are just about settled so it’s just about getting the panel settled and pushing on together. A lot of the current batch of players saw him lifting the (Liam MacCarthy) cup with (Martin) Storey and getting the man of the match. There’s a lot of respect for him and if you can’t do it for him, then who are you going to do it for?”

Rossiter warns though that Dunne is a hard taskmaster. The evening of the county final win this year, the players prepared their training bags assuming they would have a session the following morning, like they had done the two previous years. He cancelled it but their assumption was symptomatic of how much the panel have embraced hard work under Dunne’s tutelage.

“I think Liam sits down at home and thinks to himself, ‘What didn’t I like doing when I was hurling?’ and then he does it with us,” laughed Rossiter.

“That’s his whole motive at the minute anyway. That’s his thing at the moment, training the morning after county finals. I don’t think he did it in ‘94 or ‘95 but look, we don’t mind — we’ll do what we’re told!”

Contemplating another Leinster final defeat on Sunday is not on Rossiter’s mind. The O’Loughlin Gaels loss last January rankled with them. A lot.

“It would be very hard to come back in 2012 if we lost consecutive Leinster finals. It’s not even worth thinking about. We have our chance, we’ve 60 minutes to produce and to win it. It’s great to be here again. There was a lot of pressure on us trying to get back there. We’ve done the hard work to get back here and now it’s about going out hurling. It’s very important to the club to be here and to make the extra step and go the extra mile to win it.”

Coolderry’s defeat of a more fancied Ballyboden St Enda’s side has ensured Oulart-the-Ballagh aren’t wearing their favourites tag with much comfort. Having lost to the Dublin champions at Parnell Park four years ago, they appreciate what the Offaly men achieved in getting to the Nowlan Park decider.

“We played Ballyboden in Parnell Park in 2007,” recalls Rossiter.

“We went in comfortable leaders at half-time and came out and met a totally different Ballyboden team in the second half. They outscored and outplayed us and washed us off the board. I knew Coolderry had a good set-up and a good side and it wasn’t going to be easy. They went into the lion’s den and came out with the win, which is a big job to do.”

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