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Dublin: 2°C Monday 25 January 2021
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Cuala contingent to resume Dublin training tomorrow night ahead of relegation clash with Clare

Ger Cunningham is welcoming back the best players from the finest club team in the land.

THERE ARE A couple of different ways to analyse Dublin’s latest league defeat.

Ger Cunningham Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

On the face of it, they suffered a fourth league defeat in five, meaning they’ll finish bottom of Division 1A and are consigned to a relegation play-off against Clare.

Fortunately for Ger Cunningham, there is more than one way to skin a cat.

The legendary Cork goalkeeper may even be feeling a tad justified after his inexperienced team gave their best display of the league so far. In terms of performance, he couldn’t have asked for more.

The work-rate was there and physically they threw themselves about the field. Tactically, the Sky Blues executed the game-plan before Gary Maguire’s reckless red card handed Kilkenny the initiative.

Aside from the result, it was a very positive outing for Dublin, who battled valiantly with a player less for almost 40 minutes.

“I’d say outside of the first match against Tipp, this level of performance that we’ve given against Waterford, against Clare and against Cork, it’s been building,” Cunningham said.

“We’re trying to create consistency all the time. We were competitive in all the games, we’ve been consistent and we’ll take a lot out of the game. We showed that we have to use the ball better.

“We used the ball well in the second half, Kilkenny are a big physical side. It was some of our guys’ first time playing against Kilkenny at senior level so we are where we are.

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“We had to play with 14 men for 45 minutes or whatever it was, that was difficult. Very proud of the lads and the character they showed in the second half and took the game to Kilkenny. Eventually the extra man was going to tell.

“It was bound to happen. The legs out there are bound to get tired. We tried to introduce as many fresh legs as we can and but just I think the extra man at the end told against us.”

Dublin, a team which included two 2016 minors and another five U21s from last year, when down to 14 against Kilkenny after half an hour, and kept in the fight right until the end. That was seriously impressive.

David Treacy Cuala sharpshooter David Treacy Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

All-Ireland winning Cuala contingent will now return and greatly bolster Cunningham’s ranks. They’ll inject the camp with the sort of positive vibes that come from winning an All-Ireland club title.

Things are beginning to look up for the Dublin boss.

“They’re back in Tuesday night so they’ll be back and available for us next weekend.

“They won a fantastic competition. It’s time now for them to move on and start integrating back in with us as well. You know, kind of playing with their second team.

“They’ve two masters to serve really. So it was a big focus for them all year. They’re coming down off that high, but I think they’ll be looking forward to coming back in with us as well.

“We’ve got guys who’ve been there for the last four months, who are working very hard. So it will just increase our panel. The guys coming in, we need to consider we haven’t seen them all year. We’re looking forward to seeing them back in.”

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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