Liam Rushe has dismissed suggestions Dublin’s tactics were to blame for Sunday’s Leinster final defeat to Kilkenny, laying the blame squarely on the players.
There had been criticism the reigning provincial champions were playing too defensively and putting high ball into small men in the inside line. But Rushe said: “We went with set-ups that worked for us in the league and previous years. I don’t think it was the formation, I think we looked uncomfortable on the ball. Yeah, we drew lads out of midfield, which we’ve done in the past, and we kept Kilkenny goalless. If you said that to me before the match, I’d have said we’ll win but they beat us on points.
“So I don’t think it was the formation, I think it was our execution. Because when you do turn over the ball, you have to make good use of it out the field, and we didn’t. Then when the ball started going in, it was coming right back out. The quicker it came out, the quicker we launched it in so it was really our own execution further out the field that cost us.”
Rushe explained Dublin resorted to playing long balls into the smaller inside forwards because the original plan “went out the window”.
He continued: “Kilkenny, they weren’t even hunting in packs. They were just getting one or two men in, getting hurls in awkward places and knocking ball down. We didn’t look like we were ready for that.”
Dublin face an All-Ireland quarter-final on July 27, slightly disorientated as they had been “flying in training” prior to Sunday’s heavy defeat.
“I’ve been depressed for the last few of days alright,” admitted Rushe. “Wallowing in despair. But, look, it’s Wednesday now. We’re going training tonight. The game is a fortnight from Sunday. It’s time to start looking up.
“We are still in it. I think we need to hold on to that hurt from Sunday and use it as motivation.
“Friends and family... we let them all down. And the other panel members who didn’t get a crack at it. They’re probably itching to give a better account of themselves than we did of ourselves. We owe it to them to give a better account of ourselves next day.”
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