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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 19 April, 2019
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Dalo talks managing Kilmacud, Sheedy's return in Tipp and Keaney's leadership

Anthony Daly discusses all things hurling.

ON SUNDAY, ANTHONY Daly will lead Kilmacud Crokes in the Dublin SHC final against Ballyboden St Enda’s.

Anthony Daly Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Their stunning semi-final win to dump out reigning champions Cuala means they’re narrow favourites to take the crown this time around.

The Clare native has previously enjoyed major success in the capital, having led Dublin to Leinster and National League wins in the past.

Kilmacud are chasing their first county title since 2014, after losing the 2016 and 2017 finals to eventual Leinster and All-Ireland champions Cuala.

When they won the championship in 2012, incidentally was the man who presented the medals to the players. He was at a minor awards night in the club at one stage or another too and even held his autobiography launch in the Stillorgan side’s clubhouse.

Daly felt he already had an “affinity” with Kilmacud, so when the call came to take charge of the senior hurlers last October, he jumped at the chance.

He’s also thought to be in the running to replace Pat Gilroy this winter and return to his old post in charge of the Dubs.

When Daly appeared in RTÉ for the 2019 championship draw last week, he had plenty on his mind and covered a wide range of topics from Liam Sheedy’s return to manage Tipperary, to his work with some of Limerick’s talented youngsters and the disappointing finish to Clare’s campaign.

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Oisin O’Rourke celebrates at the final whistle Oisin O’Rourke celebrates Kilmacud's semi-final win over Cuala. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Beating Cuala to reach the Dublin hurling final

“It’s huge. But ’tis no cup. It would be great to knock out Cuala and be getting the championship. To knock out Cuala and get a resurgent ‘Boden then is a totally different prospect. To be fair, by the time we left the dressing-room, we tried to numb all that. And just say, ‘It’s done.’

“We may be able to look back at it at the end of the year with a bit of fondness. But there’ll be no fondness if we lose the final.

“The weekend of the All-Ireland, when we had the (All-Ireland) Sevens, we ramped it up really from then, knowing we had a dead rubber really with Na Fianna. And would be in the quarter-final. So we really ramped it up. I’ve really enjoyed the last seven or eight weeks.

“We brought them down to Clare, just for a taste of the good air down there. We brought them down to the East Clare golf club. We played St. Thomas’ on the way down. I fancy them to win Galway now, I have to say. Very good match. And stayed the night and we trained in the home ground of the great Liam Doyle in Bodyke!

“So that was great. The following morning, off back to Dublin. We said we were going to give it everything. Because literally, we took July and the first two weeks in August off. I know ‘Boden took no time off. So maybe that will stand to them. Maybe we’ll be a bit fresher.” 

Liam Sheedy and Anthony Daly after the game Liam Sheedy and Anthony Daly have met on the sideline before. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Liam Sheedy taking charge of Tipperary 

“Top bloke. He’ll bring freshness always. He’s out of it long enough now. I would have sent him an auld text saying, “Capall dubh (dark horse).” 

“What we didn’t know, I presume Liam knew for a while, that he was a contender. Would have given that deep thought. Wouldn’t have jumped into anything. He knows the task. I believe Tommy (Dunne) is with him as well. Having worked with Tommy with the Dubs, there’s a top, top coach gone in with him already.

“Always with a new guy there is that bit of freshness. Liam obviously stopped the drive for five so that will add to the whole thing.”

Clare’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Galway

“It was (hard to digest). It was. Particularly the second day going down saying, ‘We can’t give them a nine-point start.’ But this time we gave them the nine-point start and turned it around completely on its head.

“It was the little filler on The Sunday Game Live, me talking about ‘the width of a championship post.’ We got that break against Tipp with the Jake Morris chance.

“Shanie (Aron Shanagher)’s chance – good save the first time, then he hit the post. That would have got us to the final. It was gas meeting all the Limerick people coming out – a lot of them were stewarding and I would know them from my time with the Limerick underage.

“A lot of the officials were stewarding at the match, being on at Thurles. They were saying, ‘Hard luck Dalo, kinda glad it’s Galway.’ In a final, it would have been a once-off, Clare v Limerick. A massive final in loads of ways. Local derby for an All-Ireland final. And this is what the new system can throw up. And will throw up over the years.”

Anthony Daly on the sidelines for Limerick Anthony Daly during his spell over Limerick minors. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Working with Limerick’s young guns as minor manager

“(I worked with) Peter Casey, Seamie Flanagan, Barry Murphy. About six or seven from the 36. Would have just missed out on Cian Lynch. Barry Nash, Tom Morrissey – they were the minors of 2014. I came in 2015. 

“You’d say Caso (Peter Casey) was definitely a stand-out. Kyle (Hayes) was a minor again in ’16 – just the physique of him alone. Absolute gazelle, and can hurl with it. Seamie, you wouldn’t have known. He made the 26 just for the U21 final the previous year. He didn’t make it for any other day.

“John (Kiely) and Paul (Kinnerk) saw something there they could work with. Going to college, going to UCD, playing Fitzgibbon up here, he’s really matured. His display in the All-Ireland was incredible. And there’s more to come from them, the Barry Murphys. They’ve a fair pot of guys to come.”

The Dublin team Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The potential in Dublin hurling

“Unquestionably, Dublin are getting footballers from all corners of the county. From exit 12 as far as Lucan, how many hurlers have we got with Dublin from there since Dotsy O’Callaghan? I’m talking into the left of the M50 there.

“Who has played from that vast area? I often took a wrong turn or decided I’d avoid road works and ended up out there. By Jesus, it’s bigger than Clare and how many hurlers have we got out of there? But they’re getting footballers out of there.

“There’s been great work at underage and there’s probably less of the Cormac Costellos, Ciaran Kilkennys and Eric Lowndes’, more lads coming out of minor and knowing what they want straight away.

“We know how good a hurler Con O’Callaghan is and he’s not available so there’s a massive difference between Dublin football and Dublin huling and it’s impossible to compare. Yet I think Dublin have every chance, if things fall right and are done right, whoever’s there they are every bit good enough to get into that three and who knows after that.

“There’s no Kilkenny superpower there anymore, there really isn’t, it’s level. Limerick won the All-Ireland, beat Galway. Waterford were in the final last year and didn’t even qualify from Munster. Tipp, Clare, it’s very level, hard to pick a winner.”

Conal Keaney Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Facing Conal Keaney in Sunday’s final

“Keaney was very good last year, possibly him going off against Kilkenny last year tilted things. He was having such an influence on the game and he’s in such tremendous shape.

“Seeing him in the flesh Sunday…To come back from that motorcycle accident and to be where he is now from 2011 is some dedication, isn’t it? What a leader like.

“No coincidence him coming back led to (Dublin’s success winning League and Leinster titles), not alone his influence as a player and as a guy around the place, what it meant for the other guys for a lad who had all these Leinster championship medals to come back.  

“My daughter was in the hospital the night before the All-Ireland in 2011 and I just gave him a text and said, ‘I’m thinking of you tonight kid.’ They went on to win and he had to be tinged (with regret).

“Then it was great that ‘Boden got that football All-Ireland as well, I hope they get another hurling championship. I wouldn’t mind them winning a football, Jaysus I better wear my Crokes hat on that as well or (Johnny) Magee will be ringing me, worse again!” 

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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