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Niall Scully excited rather than daunted by fight for Dublin starting spot

“All I can do is go to training and put my hand up,” says the 2020 All-Star.

Image: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Updated Fri 3:03 PM

FROM THE SIDELINE in Clones, Niall Scully watched Jack McCarron nail a 45-metre free to send the Dubs down. 

Staggeringly, that was less than three months ago. Yet since then it is all change in the capital. Dublin are back. Leinster champions, All-Ireland contenders, top dogs. They welcome Cork to HQ this Saturday as strong favourites. 

For Scully, the results from that league campaign were never the primary concern. The issue was how they played. 

“It was obviously disappointing but I think just the way we performed was more disappointing than how it ended up. We got a lot of time then for reflection that kind of made us humble,” he says. 

“We probably weren’t as good as we thought we were maybe and over the last few weeks we had to look at that.

“In fairness when you look back at it, the performances just weren’t good enough and the consistency across all the quarters wasn’t great. We always have and had the quality in the team. That’s just about trying to bring that up to the top of the surface and to get us all back on the same wave level.”

niall-scully Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

As well as the attitude adjustment, the 2020 All-Star points to a difference in their approach. 

“I think looking at the National League campaign it was probably just a bit more slow than what we’re going after now. I think a huge factor as well is obviously the weather gets better so it might allow you to play that faster football and looking to kick more and be more direct.”

Scully wasn’t on the field against Monaghan at the end but he did start that game. Since then, however, he has had to make do with an impact role. Lorcan O’Dell has started for Dessie Farrell’s outfit in the last two championship games. 

The Templeogue Synge Street club man had been a regular in the team after breaking through thanks to several standout performances in the 2017 O’Byrne Cup. Before that, after finishing with the U21s, it took years for Scully to even get on the panel.

The wing forward has forged his way into the team before and is determined to do so again. He is only delighted for O’Dell, who is also his club-mate.  

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“I’d be the first one to put my hand up, I’m absolutely delighted for him and I think he’s done extremely well over the last two games as well. For me, all I can do is go to training and put my hand up and put my best foot forward.

“I wouldn’t be wishing that it is me or him or anything like that.

For me it’s something new, something exciting. Like you said, it’s probably not a position I’ve faced before but it gives me something to look forward to every time I’m stepping out into training. But definitely, it excites me more than it daunts me.”

First published today at 07.00 

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Maurice Brosnan

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