By Peter McNamara
Ollie Moran believes Allianz NHL Division 1A table-toppers Dublin have “recovered their mojo” with Ger Cunningham’s fresh eyes presiding over them in the capital.
Moran, one of the very best former inter-county operators and an All-Star in 2007 as Limerick reached the All-Ireland final, illustrated the significance of Cunningham’s presence with the Boys in Blue seemingly revitalised thus far under his guise.
“It’s pretty much the same hand as Anthony (Daly), who it must be said did a wonderful job, would have had in the last number of years,” Moran outlined. “I suppose though that when Ger (Cunningham) went in he realised he had to mix things up and their players have just revelled in their new surroundings.
“Mick Carton, Peter Kelly, Conal Keaney, Eamon Dillon and Liam Rushe have all found a new lease of life which can happen in these circumstances.
“Ger is massively respected everywhere he goes due to his experience, coaching ability and overall knowledge of the game.
“And the quality of their first touch and movement has been superb. They seem to be doing everything right.
“Dublin are racking up massive scores too and, essentially, they have recovered their mojo with Ger at the helm.”
Additionally, Moran has heaped praise on Christopher Joyce for his performance against Clare in the Allianz NHL Division 1A at Páirc Uí Rinn as Cork thundered to a comprehensive victory.
“Cork took a lot of flak, more so for their performance than the result itself against Kilkenny,” Moran explained. “They bounced back in really emphatic fashion though.
“I was very impressed with their performances right through the middle, the spine of their team.
“Christopher Joyce, I felt, was a revelation at full-back, Mark Ellis was solid, Daniel Kearney and Aidan Walsh worked extremely hard at midfield and Seamus Harnedy as well was another man to really step up.
“I am sure JBM will have been delighted with Joyce’s individual response after the Kilkenny match.
“His reading of the game was exceptional. He was marking the likes of Shane O’Donnell and various other guys but I liked the way he went about his business.
“Joyce was very physical in his approach but he also showed great touches when in possession and a good positional sense without the ball.
“The full-back role has been a problem position for Cork for a while now but maybe Joyce is the long-term answer for them.”
Moran, though, was somewhat surprised by Clare’s display in the aforementioned contest.
The Ahane clubman expected much more from Davy Fitzgerald’s outfit given the amount of training they have behind them in contrast to other sides in the division.
“By Davy’s (Fitzgerald) high standards, and he might not like to admit it, Clare are definitely below what would have been expected of them at this point,” Moran opined. “The worrying thing from a Clare perspective is that they have a lot of work done – he admitted himself they had been back as a group since late last November.
“You would imagine they should be fitter, or certainly at least a little more advanced, than everybody else at the moment.
“Having said that, people have alluded to the fact that they were in a similar enough place in 2013 but, at the end of the day, Davy will be worried about their capitulation against Cork.
“I thought tactically, too, they were outmaneuvered.
“A lot of their big-name players did not turn up, either and they are the sort of things that will worry Davy more than the actual result.
“Two league losses might have hurt Clare’s morale as well,” he added.