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'Tomorrow is a new day': Ger Cunningham well aware of the daunting task facing Dublin next weekend

They’ll play either Kilkenny, Tipperary or Waterford next weekend.

Image: Tom Beary/INPHO

SO DUBLIN’S SEASON rolls on, for one more game at least.

Ger Cunningham’s young side ran out impressive 2-28 to 1-15 winners over a depleted Laois in Round 1 of the All-Ireland SHC qualifiers tonight, but a daunting task lies ahead next weekend.

On Monday morning, they’ll be drawn against either Kilkenny, Tipperary or Waterford, three of the four sides who contested last year’s All-Ireland semi-finals.

It’s a different ballpark entirely and Cunningham admitted as much outside the dressing rooms after the game.

“We were very disappointed in our performance against Galway. We felt we didn’t really perform to the 70 minutes. We finished poorly and maybe the result wasn’t as it should have been from our point of view.

“So we were looking to bounce back straight away. And once we got the home draw here in Parnell, we felt we had every chance.

“Now we’re going into a different league next weekend. So we’re looking forward it.”

Ger Cunningham and Eamonn Kelly at the end of the game Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

It’s difficult to foresee anything other than a heavy defeat for the Sky Blues and, most likely, the end of Cunningham’s three-year reign in charge.

If next week does spell the end for the former Cork goalkeeper, at least he can bow out safe in the knowledge that 2017 newcomers Ben Quinn, Cian O’Sullivan and Donal Burke are well on their way to becoming top-class inter-county hurlers.

Cunningham also handed championship debuts to Eoghan O’Donnell and Chris Crummey, both of whom will be key figures in the Dublin defence for the foreseeable future.

The absentees have been well-documented at this stage, but it’s important to note a new breed of Dublin hurler has emerged in the past few years too, despite the poor results.

“The result was the most important thing tonight. Getting to the second qualifier game – that was the purpose, that was the aim tonight.

“The performance…you always look for a performance and you wouldn’t have got a win without the performance.

“I’m not going into individuals. All over, I thought our hurling was very good. I just thought as a team performance, it worked out.

“The Leinster championship is over. Tomorrow is a new day. All we’re looking at is next Saturday night.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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