McCaffrey doesn’t expect big changes

The post mortem will inevitably last weeks but, eventually, John McCaffrey expects Dublin to begin their preparations for 2014 with an unchanged panel and, crucially, with the same management team.

McCaffrey doesn’t expect big changes

Anthony Daly was unable to offer any assurances about sticking around for a potential sixth season in charge of Dublin following their All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Cork.

It is likely that, similar to last year when he agreed to a one year extension in early October, he will thrash out the pros and cons of sticking around in the coming weeks.

The Clare legend has the support of the Dublin players at least with captain McCaffrey insisting he speaks for the panel in imploring Daly to stay on.

In fact, McCaffrey is optimistic that the entire unit that enjoyed Walsh Cup, league and Leinster success in 2013 will return next year to build on the platform.

“Absolutely, I think from the players’ point of view, there’s no-one that’s going to be too old,” said McCaffrey. “Everyone would be mad for road again. Obviously, we hope the management will stay on.

“They’re not going to be saying anything now but, from a players’ point of view, everyone knows how highly we think of them and we’re hopeful that everyone that’s in the dressing-room will stay together.”

McCaffrey has been at this juncture before, in late 2011, when he believed an All-Ireland semi-final appearance was the start of something big. Dublin endured a disastrous 2012 campaign, however, recording just a single competitive win all season, over Laois.

“Yeah, that’s the thing, we’ve got to push on this time,” said McCaffrey. “We’re a year older too so hopefully we’ve learned from 2012 in terms of what we want to do in 2014. We’ll take the defeat hard for the next couple of weeks and think things over. But we know we’ve progressed. We’re hopeful that we can be back here in 12 months’ time at this stage again.”

By lining out against Cork, McCaffrey moved to joint seventh position in the all time Championship appearances list for Dublin. The top three on the list are also team-mates; Michael Carton, Gary Maguire and Stephen Hiney.

Some of those may consider retirement over winter along with experienced players like Conal Keaney, Niall Corcoran and Ryan O’Dwyer.

But the performances of younger players like Danny Sutcliffe, Paul Schutte, Peter Kelly and Liam Rushe this season means the future looks bright for hurling in the capital.

“We thought we had a great chance this year, whatever about the future,” insisted midfielder McCaffrey. “It’s hard to put into words how we’re feeling. We knew coming up to the semi-final that it was going to be a serious battle with Cork and we expected that. We hung in there in the first-half and didn’t play anywhere near our potential, yet we were only a point behind. We threw everything at it in the second-half and just came up short.

“It’s gutting because, as I say, we did think we could get to the final. Maybe we’ll look back in a few weeks’ time and say we had a great year but right now, no, it doesn’t feel like that.”

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