Silence is golden: Dubs captain appreciates Ger Cunningham’s player-driven approach

Joint captain Peter Kelly has admitted the silence in Dublin’s dressing-room after Anthony Daly left has taken a long time to get used to.

Daly's ebullience was replaced by the more measured tones of Ger Cunningham who will lead Dublin out on Sunday week in their Leinster hurling championship opener.
 
Former All-Star defender Kelly said the change has required a more player-driven approach with Cunningham allowing the players themselves to talk more and fill the void previously occupied by Daly.
 
It remains to be seen if it is a successful formula with Dublin showing the best and worst of themselves throughout Cork legend Cunningham's first Allianz league campaign.
 
"They're so different in so many ways. Daly would have been constantly talking in the dressing-room," said Kelly. "He would have generated an atmosphere in the dressing-room whereas Ger would leave that to the players and let the players lead the atmosphere.
 
"At the start, that was strange not having that one voice driving the whole thing in the dressing-room. It took the players a while to get used to it but I think we have now.
 
"We definitely enjoy that player-driven environment. We can see that the performances have been a lot more consistent this year. Maybe that's not been reflected in us getting the wins but we're definitely putting in more consistent performances and that's only a good thing."
 
As part of the process of player empowerment, Cunningham appointed joint captains with Kelly and Liam Rushe sharing the duties.
 
"Apart from losing Anthony, we also lost Stephen Hiney. Those were two big voices in the dressing-room and a void was definitely left," continued Kelly. "Ger recognised that when he came in and he really encouraged leadership in the dressing-room, that player-driven environment."
 
The two big blips on Cunningham's copybook so far have, ironically, come in games against Cork. Dublin were hammered by Cork in the group stage of the league and coughed up a huge lead against the same opposition in the semi-finals.
 
"When we lost the Cork game, it wasn't for a hurling reason, it was more a mental reason," claimed Kelly of the knockout defeat. "We just switched off and we couldn't switch it back on again. Cork got red hot at the right moment for them.
 
"It's something that we have focused on but, in fairness, we have closed out games in the past. Galway in the league was a pivotal game for us this year. We were facing down the barrel of a gun in terms of having to go down to Nowlan Park for a relegation match if we lost, so that was a must-win game for us, probably our biggest one to date, and we put in a great second-half performance."
 

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