In his new autobiography Dalo which will be in shops this week, Daly does accept Dublin hurling has to improve and change, especially by spreading the game into “hurling wastelands”, but he makes a stern defence of his former players as well as his own handling of the dual player issue.
After Dublin’s All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Tipperary — which proved to be Daly’s last game over the team — The Sunday Game panel claimed Dublin had too many “manufactured hurlers” and also proposed that players should be choosing one GAA code over the other before they turn minor.
Daly, however, disagrees.
“When we scored 2-25 against Galway in the 2013 Leinster final, nobody was talking about (our) basics,” he writes. “Some of the hurling we played in the All-Ireland semi-final against Cork was as good as anything seen in Croke Park during such an electric summer. Surely you need shooters and good players to play in those kind of games? Yet all of a sudden, now we’re only seen as ‘manufactured hurlers’.
“I had retreated into the bunker at home after the Tipperary game when Richie Stakelum sent me a text and told me to look up (Brian) Cody. In an interview he’d done that week, Cody had rejected the characterisation of Dublin’s players as ‘manufactured hurlers’. I’d never texted Brian Cody in my life, but I took out my phone and tapped a few words on the screen: ‘Brian, just want to say thanks for what you said during the week’.
‘Just thought it was a load of rubbish, Dalo,’ he texted back.
“How do you manufacture hurlers? Is it that you don’t manufacture them in time?
“Yet where was this debate last year when we could have won an All-Ireland and Tipp were gone from the championship in the first week in July?.”
Daly also believes The Sunday Game panelists’ views on the dual player issue are neither practical nor productive.
“If Loughnane or Cusack are saying that Dublin needs to ensure guys pick hurling ahead of football at 15, that’s fairly rich coming from the both of them. Ger is a hurling purist from Feakle where football has no place or order. Although he apparently was a decent footballer, I’m sure Cusack would be ordering boxes of pen-knives if football ever became a serious imposition on the hurling culture in Cloyne.
“It’s a bit rich for Loughnane and Cusack to be banging that drum.
“I wouldn’t entertain that argument because the lads we have are the lads we want. They would give you everything and that’s all you can ask.
“To me, the real issue here has been totally missed. If you look at the Dublin panel, the squad is packed with players from just four clubs — Ballyboden St Endas, Kilmacud Crokes, Lucan Sarsfields and Cuala. Apart from Dotsy (O’Callaghan), there is nobody else from Tallaght. We have nobody from Finglas, no-one from north of Craobh Chiaráin — which is another massive population area. If you take just Tallaght and Finglas alone — just two areas of Dublin — that’s one senior hurler out of around 120,000 people.
“If Dublin really want to start reaching All-Ireland hurling finals and winning them, they have to start finding players from those hurling wastelands. There also has to be a revival in some of the traditional hurling clubs which have fallen on hard times.
“Everyone talks about the huge money which has been pumped into Dublin hurling. There is great coaching going on but, outside of certain clubs, where is it really developing?
“And all the while the Dublin football culture is thriving.
“Na Fianna are doing superb work and they’d seven players on the starting Dublin minor hurling team in 2014. Yet one of the club’s best young hurlers was — allegedly — told that he’d be dropped off the Na Fianna senior football squad if he went playing with the county U21 hurlers. Square that one. And let somebody come back to me when they’ve solved it.”
The debate though did bring some amusement to Daly.
“When I was driving home from the Cork-Tipperary All-Ireland semi-final, I got a text from Gary Maguire: ‘The “manufactured hurlers” from Cork never showed up today.’ Classic Gary.”