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Mattie Kenny addresses rumours of Con O'Callaghan switch to Dublin hurlers

‘It’s something I’m not aware of,’ said the Dublin boss.

Con O'Callaghan hasn't played for Dublin since last year's All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Mayo.
Con O'Callaghan hasn't played for Dublin since last year's All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Mayo.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

MATIE KENNY POURED cold water on the prospects of Con O’Callaghan lining out for the Dublin hurlers, this season at least.

There had been some speculation in recent weeks that the Cuala dual star could be persuaded by his former club manager to throw his lot in with the county hurlers.

O’Callaghan’s failure to appear for the Dublin footballers yet this season, coupled with their poor start to the league, fuelled rumours that he might be persuaded to give the small ball code a go at inter-county level.

“It’s something I’m not aware of. I haven’t heard them rumours,” said Kenny after Dublin’s 2-23 to 0-16 defeat to Kilkenny on Saturday.

The Cats led by six points at half-time and put the game to bed when they scored 2-3 without reply near the end of the third quarter.

“It was a good performance definitely,” said Brian Cody. “We knew coming up here it was going to be a serious challenge. The attitude was very good, the competitiveness of the team was good and we fought until the end, and it paid off.”

It was Dublin’s first defeat of 2022 after hitting the ground running in the Walsh Cup and Division 1B.

The Sky Blues were without full-back Eoghan O’Donnell, who picked up an injury in the previous round against Tipperary, while Liam Rushe, Mark Schutte, Daire Gray, Cian Boland and Cian O’Sullivan are also sidelined.

Kenny stated: “Six of these guys that played in the Leinster final last year are all currently out injured. We have to get these guys back on the pitch before the championship if possible. 

“Our physios and medical staff are working on them to try to get them back as soon as possible. Hopefully we’ll get them back in the next three or four weeks.

“A few of them have significant enough injuries. It would be touch and go.”

mattie-kenny-dejected Mattie Kenny after the game. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

They face a race against time to return for the Leinster round robin opener on 16 April and Kenny’s biggest concern surrounds dynamic forward Boland.

“Cian Boland picked up a really bad injury for his club last October. It was a six to eight month injury. Cian O’Sullivan picked up a bad hamstring injury, Liam Rushe, Daire Gray, all them have very significant injuries and we hope to get them back I suppose in the next four to six weeks.”

Dublin have used just 22 players in the league so far, fewer than any other team in the top flight.

“We didn’t want to be chopping and changing too much,” explained Kenny.

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“We wanted to keep the backbone of the team in place so the younger guys would settle into a settled team and we’d get to see what level they’re at, which is a very good level over the last number of weeks in fairness.

“We’re happy with the way the league has gone for us and we’re happy with the way we’ve approached it.”

padraig-walsh-with-paddy-smyth Padraig Walsh battles for possession with Paddy Smyth. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Kilkenny sit on 29 players used, with the employment of Padraig Walsh at centre-forward of particular interest. He continued his fine form in the new role, clipping 0-4 on Saturday.

“Padraig plays a huge amount of hurling at centre forward with his club,” said Cody.

“He has played just about everywhere on the pitch over his career, very very often in the forwards. So it was just something we looked at we tried, we are very happy with the way he’s going.

“It’s the opportunity to play lads and look at lads, sometimes we do it out of choice and some because of injuries to other players. It’s gone okay for us.

“The timespan between now and the start of the championship almost doesn’t exist so you have to be hitting form very quickly and keeping it going as well, because it is going to be week after week pretty much, short and snappy and very very competitive.”

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien  / Reports from Parnell Park

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