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Dublin: 12°C Monday 14 June 2021

"A lot of people in Dublin don't know what a hurley is" says county star

Dubs defender Niall Corcoran is hoping his side’s winning run will encourage a greater number of fans to cheer them on.

Dublin's Niall Corcoran at the Loughgeorge GAA Training Centre.
Dublin's Niall Corcoran at the Loughgeorge GAA Training Centre.
Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

NIALL CORCORAN LINED for photos in Galway yesterday accompanied by Limerick’s Paul Browne and four other chaps eager to join them in the All-Ireland Hurling semi-finals.

Michael Fennelly, as was his right, posed with the Liam MacCarthy while John Conlon [Clare], Lorcan McLoughlin [Cork] and Fergal Moore [Galway] cosied up to the cup.

Bookies would have given plucky gamblers long odds before the championship if they had speculated on The Dubs and Limerick — the two sides that contested the Division 1B league final — being the first two teams to reach the All-Ireland semi finals.

Corcoran told, ”I was just saying to Paul Browne there that Limerick will go mental. In Dublin you’re walking down the street and a lot of people in Dublin don’t know what a hurley is to be quite honest. That’s something that’ll be good for the players, that the hype will be down. Maybe the media will blow it up especially with Dublin winning the football now, it’s a double, but we learned from last year that you have to be realistic in where you’re at.” He added:

We know we have to be twice as good in that semi-final because we’ll be playing teams that have got three or four games under their belt consistently and we’ll have had the break. I don’t think it’ll be a problem for players to keep their feet on the ground.”

Corcoran is working with the Cúl camps, for schoolchildren on summer holidays, and has seen the immediate impact Dublin’s success is having. He commented, “You see people who wouldn’t have an idea of what a hurley is and have taken notice and maybe watched the game and the fact that it’s been 52 years, maybe you’ll have people who will take a bit more notice of the game.

“Maybe they will come to the game, maybe they will bring their kids to the game and that’s what you want. That’s key. If you look at the footballers, they fill Croke Park, you see it as a nine, 10-year-old, where do you want to be? That’s where they want to be and the hurlers have to get to that stage to look to attract those players.”

Corcoran (right) celebrates Dublin’s Leinster Final win over Galway with Ryan O’Dwyer and Paul Ryan. ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Corcoran is hoping that, with Cork or Kilkenny battling to meet them in the semi-final on 28 July, that Dublin fans will buy up as many tickets as possible to get behind their hurlers.

“Certainly for us in Croke Park,” he said, “if we can get 50,000 or 60,000 and the majority of them are Dubs, it’d be fantastic. Playing behind the Hill last Sunday with the Leinster final and they singing the Boys in Blue was a huge thing.”

“We’ve seen the YouTube clips of them singing the Boys in Blue after we beat Kilkenny,” added Corcoran. “It was fantastic. When players see that it gives them a bit of a lift and if we can get support behind hurling in Dublin that’s what you want.”

Limerick’s Seamus Hickey told that his thoughts drifted back to that Division 1B Final, which Dublin won, when he watched his captain, Donal O’Grady, lift the Munster SHC Cup on Sunday. ”It was worlds apart in terms of my feeling at that moment,” he said. “We were so hurt after that game, we were very wounded.

“We felt that we could have beaten Dublin and it was a big stage where we needed to perform but we came up short.” Hickey is determined to avoid a similar “gut-wrenching” experience should they meet Dublin, and their growing legion of supporters, again this summer.

*Additional reporting by Fintan O’Toole

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Patrick McCarry

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