McCaffrey says long lay-off won’t hinder Dublin hopes against Wexford

Dublin hurling captain Johnny McCaffrey is confident the reigning Leinster champions will not be hindered by an 11-week lay-off ahead of their provincial opener against Wexford on Saturday night.

McCaffrey says long lay-off won’t hinder Dublin hopes against Wexford

Anthony Daly’s men have not crossed the whitewash since overcoming Waterford in the league’s relegation decider at the end of March.

Such a late entry to the Leinster championship is reward for annexing the Bob O’Keefe Cup last summer and McCaffrey is adamant rustiness won’t be an issue.

“We would have liked to have a game under our belts but we knew that wouldn’t be the case,” said McCaffrey.

“This year is different from any other year in that we are coming in as Leinster champions and that brings its own pressures. The fact that we are coming in so late is different. We are normally coming in at the end of May. I think we showed last year after the long gap we had from the Leinster final to the All-Ireland semi-final that we managed quite well. We were at the pitch of the game against Cork from the start. Our opponents have a game under their belt so we need to ensure our preparations are at the required level.”

Club action during May has ruled out goalkeeper Gary Maguire (thumb) and Danny Sutcliffe (hand), while major doubts surround the fitness of Liam Rushe (hamstring). In past campaigns the loss of such established players would have crippled Dublin but now there is a much deeper talent pool.

“The likes of Cian O’Callaghan and Colm Cronin have been making names for themselves. Alan McCrabbe coming back in as well is a plus. We have 35 men on the panel and we used 26 during the league. That is what you want to get out of the league, you want to see lads in different situations and that is what we got. It shows also in the games we are playing in training how competitive the set-up is and how strong the talent of lads coming through is.”

McCraffey insists the team have a new goal since last season’s provincial success: “When you do win Leinster you want to get more. We want to get to an All-Ireland. We know how hard it is going to be go get back up that ladder, but we are going to do our best. We are up to the task ahead though.”

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up