Naughton to carry on

Tommy Naughton is to continue as manager of the Dublin senior hurlers into next season, after being ratified for another year by the Dublin County Board.

Tommy Naughton is to continue as manager of the Dublin senior hurlers into next season, after being ratified for another year by the Dublin County Board.

Naughton was ratified for a third year at the helm at last night's Dublin County Board County Committee meeting.

The former Under-21 supremo took temporary charge of the senior team in the summer of 2005 after Humphrey Kelleher had been sacked. Later that year he took on the role on a full-time basis and guided the Dubs to the National League Division Two title.

The Dubs also maintained their Liam McCarthy Cup status last summer and judging by their form this year, Naughton's young charges are on the verge of making a real breakthrough.

They finished a very credible fourth in the NHL Division 1B table, having been in contention for a quarter-final spot after wins over Galway and Limerick and a memorable draw with All-Ireland champions Kilkenny.

However, with injuries robbing them of some key players, including league top scorer Kevin O'Reilly, the Metropolitans' championship campaign was largely a disappointing one.

They agonisingly missed out on a Leinster final appearance last month when Wexford pipped them by a point and they lost further momentum in the qualifiers with successive defeats to Cork, Tipperary and Offaly.

Yet success at underage level this season will have buoyed Naughton also, with the Dublin minors lifting the Leinster title earlier this month by beating Kilkenny.

The Dublin Under-21 hurlers chase the capital's first Leinster crown at that level since 1972 tomorrow night when they take on Offaly at Parnell Park (throw-in 7.30pm).

Some of Naughton's seniors are included in the U-21 side - most notably defenders Keith Dunne and Thomas Brady, midfielders Joey Boland and Alan McCrabbe and forwards Peadar Carton and Ross O'Carroll.

Wing back Conor Connolly has been ruled out of the Dubs' line-up due to a groin injury and has been replaced by Michael McGarry of Ballyboden.

A groin injury is also keeping big midfielder John McCaffrey out of the side, while Shane O'Rorke, Kevin O'Reilly and Willie Lowry are all long-term absentees.

In an interesting aside, Dublin senior footballer Diarmuid Connolly, who has been named at centre-forward for tomorrow's final, will be hoping to add a second provincial medal to the SFC one he won at Croke Park on Sunday.

DUBLIN (U-21HC v Offaly) - P Curtin; R Drumgoole, P Callaghan, D Webster; K Dunne, T Brady, M McGarry; J Boland, A McCrabbe; E Moran, D Connolly, S Lehane; P Carton, D O'Dwyer, R O'Carroll.

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