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'I don't think they've made any progress at all' - Dowling on Dublin's season

Shane Dowling was speaking on this week’s edition of The42 GAA Weekly.

Kieran Kingston and Mattie Kenny after the game.
Kieran Kingston and Mattie Kenny after the game.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

IN KEEPING WITH recent tradition, it’s hard to put a finger on where exactly the Dublin hurlers are.

During Mattie Kenny’s first season in charge, they famously dumped Galway out of Leinster before falling to Joe McDonagh Cup champions Laois in the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final.

2020 saw the Sky Blues break the county’s championship scoring record as they saw off Laois in a revenge mission at Croke Park. The following week, they fell 16 points behind to Kilkenny and then dragged themselves back to level terms but lost at the death.

On Saturday, their season was ended by a Cork side still hurting from their Munster semi-final loss to Waterford. Dublin lost by six points in a game they never really looked like winning.

“I don’t think they’ve made any progress at all really,” said Shane Dowling on this week’s edition of The42 GAA Weekly.

“I think it’s been a very disappointing year for Dublin. They beat Laois and they were being annihilated by Kilkenny. You question whether Kilkenny took the foot off the peddle or Dublin pushed on.

The former Limerick star went on: “There was no sense yesterday that ‘this is do or die for us.’ What I found strange is from 12 or 13 minutes out they were five or six points down and were throwing the ball into the edge of the square to try get a goal.

“They should have been tipping away, point after point. I know they had a lot of bad wides in the last quarter, for me it was their last game of year they should have died with their boots on, I just didn’t see it.

“I know Mattie Kenny said about the three weeks on the trot but I don’t buy that. You have to leave it all out on the pitch. It all comes back to intensity I know it’s a buzzword but intensity covers so much, with that comes you nailing so many players when they get on the ball.

“Robbie O’Flynn, Seamus Harnedy, Pat Horgan got one or two points from play, there was no pressure put on them at all and that’s not good enough for me.”

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Dowling was pleased to see Cork pull out a performance on Saturday night, which gave Kieran Kingston’s side a much-needed boost following recent criticism they’ve shipped.

“These players don’t go out to play bad or not to work hard, I think their confidence is shattered. The general public, the Cork public, they’ve come down so hard on all these players over the last number of years.

“They’ve put themselves into so many game-winning situations that they’ve lost. The criticism that comes from that is incredible. 2013 versus Clare in the All-Ireland, there’s no two ways about it they threw that game away.

“In 2018 against Limerick in the All-Ireland semi-final they were six or seven points up with 10 minutes to go on the clock and, okay I’ll say Limerick were good, but Cork had different situations and they just didn’t see the game out.

“When this happens over a number of years, the pressure build and builds. Kieran Kingston came out and basically said that no-one reads the media, no-one reads the comments that are made. They do.

“The life we’re living, all the players read social media, you’re not going to go scrolling through your Twitter feed or Instagram and not come across something especially when it’s so high-profile.

“So I believe the confidence of these players was definitely down so I was happy fo them yesterday. I thought they worked the ball a lot better.”

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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