Clare legend Daly watched from the stand at the St Peregrines club as his Dublin team ran amok against a club hurling selection in the annual Dubs Stars challenge.
Paul Ryan rammed home a hat-trick, 3-2 in total, while Niall McMorrow grabbed 1-4 from the bench and there were big displays too from goalscorer Danny Sutcliffe and captain John McCaffrey.
But the real intrigue was Daly’s absence from his normal side line position. He was hit with a four-week ban for his part in an altercation months back during the Clare minor final involving his club, Clarecastle. With the suspension dated from the end of the investigation, last month, he had to sit out the action yesterday.
In his place, Richie Stakelum stood in as boss and admitted the big win was heartening after a disastrous 2012 that yielded just a single competitive victory, over Laois.
“There’s a kind of cleansing effect being back because last year was a disaster for us, there’s no point in saying otherwise,” said Stakelum.
“We’ve gone back very much to a workmanlike approach and focusing on performance and not getting caught up in any other distractions, getting our heads down and working.”
Asked what the distractions were, Stakelum said: “There was a bit of loose talk last year [about winning All-Irelands] but we probably also got a bit distracted with lads coming back from injury and probably put a bit too much store in the three fellas who damaged the cruciates.”
Stakelum name-checked McMorrow, Ryan, Paul Schutte, Liam Rushe, Sutcliffe, McCaffrey and Cian McBride for their performances yesterday. He’s optimistic about a better year in 2013 but noted it’s a thin line between success and failure.
“Ironically, we had the same scoring average when we won the league in 2011 as we did last year when we were relegated,” he added. “That’s quite bizarre but you see we won a lot of games in 2011 by a point. Last year we lost them by a point.”
Scorers for Dublin: P Ryan 3-2, N McMorrow 1-4 (4fs), D Sutcliffe 1-1, C McCormack, A Clabby 1-0 each; G Whelan 0-3, T Devlin, C Keaney, C Crummy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Dub Stars: Scorers: S McGrath 0-5 (1 65); C McBride 0-2; J Hetherton 0-1.
DUBLIN: F McGarry; C Murphy, M Carton, O Gough; K Dunne, P Kelly, C Crummy; J McCaffrey, L Rushe; D O’Callaghan, C McCormack, D Sutcliffe; T Devlin, C Keaney, P Ryan.
Subs used: K Byrne, A Clabby, C Cronin, S McClelland, N McMorrow, M Schutte, G Whelan.
DUBS STARS: M Collins; G O’Meara, P Schutte, J Doughan; M McCaffrey, J Boland, S Moran; D Mulligan, C McBride; B Connolly, W O’Brien, J Hetherton; C Waldron, D Treacy, S McGrath.
Subs used: R O’Loughlan, G Ennis, G O’Meara.
Referee: P Behan (Trinity Gaels).