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We'll know more about Conal Keaney's Dublin future once Ballyboden's club campaign ends

Dublin hurling boss Ger Cunningham is leaving the veteran focus on club commitments.

Conal Keaney takes to the field for Dublin's All-Ireland hurling qualifier against Limerick last summer.
Conal Keaney takes to the field for Dublin's All-Ireland hurling qualifier against Limerick last summer.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

CONAL KEANEY’S DUBLIN hurling future is unlikely to become clear until after his club campaign football ends with Ballyboden St-Enda’s this spring.

Keaney helped Ballyboden win Dublin and Leinster club titles last year. They are currently preparing for an AIB All-Ireland semi-final tie with Clonmel Commercials on 13 February.

Dublin boss Ger Cunningham last night revealed that he has left Keaney to focus on his club commitments rather than discussing the 33 year-old’s future.

“He’s focusing completely on club championship for the moment. That’s par for the course with players who are concentrating with their clubs, I’ve no issue with that.

“He said he was focusing on his club so we respect that and we’ll leave him focused on trying to win an All-Ireland.”

Speaking after Ballyboden’s provincial final victory in December, Keaney dropped a strong retirement hint by admitting that he may be ‘too old’ to continue at inter-county level.

Cahir Healy is tackled by Michael Darragh Macauley and Conal Keaney Conal Keaney (right) in action with Michael Darragh Macauley and Cahir Healy in last year's Leinster club final. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

If Ballyboden surmount their All-Ireland semi-final hurdle, they will face a club final on St Patrick’s Day and that would likely rule out a potential return for Keaney until late March.

Cunningham saw his Dublin team commence their 2016 season on a winning note in the Walsh Cup last night but he was pleased to get the chance to scope out the Dublin players in opponents UCD’s line-up as well.

“It’s the start of our season. That’s what the Walsh Cup games are for, if you weren’t playing games tonight, you’d be playing practice matches elsewhere.

It was great to get the opportunity. It gets us back hurling.

“I think we’ve seven of our panel playing with UCD, so it was like an internal practice match really. It was good for us to get the workout.”

Ger Cunningham Dublin manager Ger Cunningham at last night's game against UCD. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Cunningham admits to a greater familiarity with his role this year as he prepares for a second season in charge of Dublin.

“There’s no doubt. This time last year coming in, you didn’t know fellas. After twelve months, you definitely know the fellas a lot better and they know me as well what I’m looking for.”

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