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# Next man in
'I didn’t want to be too influenced by it' - Ger Cunningham on the Anthony Daly book
New Dublin manager eyeing up a first piece of silverware in Saturday’s Walsh Cup final.

GER CUNNINGHAM KNOWS that Anthony Daly will be a tough act to follow.

But the new Dublin boss is confident that he can build on his predecessor’s work and bring hurling glory back to the capital.

The ups and downs of the Daly years were laid bare in the Clareman’s autobiography which hit the shelves late last year.

Topping the highlights were a national hurling league title, the county’s first in 72 years, as well as a first Leinster Championship in 52 years.

Cunningham can capture his first piece of silverware this Saturday when the Dubs host Galway in the Walsh Cup final.

Minor honours, for sure, but every little helps at a time when manager, backroom and players are still getting to know each other.

“I must say, they’ve made me feel very welcome in relation to coming up here,” Cunningham said this week.

“Dalo and his team were with them for five or six years, so they’d have been used to Dalo’s style of management and his personality and got to know those guys and had success with them. So there was a very strong bond built up over that period of time.

“So it’s probably taken the players a while to get used to my style, and me to get used to their style.”

Anthony Daly Morgan Treacy / INPHO Daly celebrates Dublin's win in the 2013 Leinster Championship Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Daly’s autobiography was “a great hurling book,” Cunningham says, “some great stories in it.

At the same time, I had to balance what I was reading because I had to find out for myself too. I didn’t want to be too influenced by it.

One thing that shone through the pages was the strength of the team bond and Cunningham acknowledges that he has big shoes to fill.

“He had such a relationship with them. I think that’s plain to see in the book and I think, if you talk to any of the players, the relationship that they had with Dalo was fantastic.

“When you’re there for four or five or six years, as he’s been there, and had success and brought Dublin from where it was into winning National Leagues and winning Leinster titles and competing for All-Ireland titles, there’s bound to be a situation where there was a very strong bond there.

But I think from talking to the lads and from talking to Dalo himself — I met him — it came to a natural end really, from their point of view.

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On Saturday’s meeting with Galway, he added: “It’s a great game to get a week before your first league match.

“To play a top county like Galway in Croke Park, to play in Croke Park anytime is great, and there should be a nice, good atmosphere there on Saturday night under lights.

“It gives us a chance to give opportunities to some of the newer guys in the panel, a chance to stake their claim in a very competitive match and put their hand up for inclusion very early.

“We’re delighted to be there — the more times you play in Croke Park, the better.”

– First published 06.00

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