The Championship is right around the corner, so how will Dublin perform this year?
Looking back on last years form
Last year, Dublin were relegated from Division 1A of the Allianz Hurling League.
Eyebrows were raised when the two sides met again in the Quarter Final of the Allianz Hurling League this year. Dublin led the game with eights points early on but went on to lose the game 2-23 to 0-10.
Going into this year, there is a lot of work to be done as Dublin will bid for Leinster and All Ireland titles, and try to avoid relegation to The Joe McDonagh Cup.
This will be Pat Gilroy‘s first year as the Dublin Hurling manager. His appointment is an interesting one and there will be plenty of eyes watching him this summer, to see how Dublin perform under his leadership.
He succeeds Ger Cunningham and will bid to lift the Dublin hurlers after suffering numerous defeats.
If you thought though, that the majority of the Cuala team would also line themselves out in the Dublin jersey, you will have to think again.
Darragh O’Connell will also be absent from the Hurling panel, a certain disadvantage as he played a pivotal role in the South Dublin club retaining their All Ireland Club Champions title.
Return of Old Stock
At the beginning of 2018, it was announced that veteran hurler Conal Keaney was coming out of retirement to rejoin the Dublin hurlers. He last sported the blue jersey in 2016, and he has every faith in Gilroy and that winning the Leinster Championship is the target.
Speaking to The Sun, Keaney said, ‘I didn’t come back not to win, so we’re going to win the Leinster and we’re going to win an All-Ireland. That’s the bottom line.
Whatever he (Gilroy) needs to do, he’ll do to make it happen. Whether the players are there or not, he’ll find someone to do it, that’s for sure.’
As well as that, this year will also see the return of Danny Sutcliffe to the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.
He took a two-year break from playing for the Blues while living and working in New York. It was in the Big Apple that he also tried his hand at football, but he returned home during the Autumn of 2017.
Shortly after this came a phone call from Pat Gilroy, and Sutcliffe was back. He tasted success with the Dublin Minor Hurling team when they won the Leinster title in 2009, something he will certainly be hoping for this time around.
The Summer Ahead
This will be a test for Dublin, they’ll need to set their form early on. Kilkenny look to be back in tip-top form after winning the Division 1 Allianz Hurling League Final.
Pat Gilroy will have already thought about the challenges and will have put a game plan in place.
If they push Kilkenny hard enough, it will be a confidence boost that the Dubs will want going into the Summer ahead.