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Looking ahead to the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship: Dublin

How will Dublin fare in this year’s All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship?

In a new series on the Littlewoods Ireland Blog, we will be shining a spotlight on each team competing this summer in the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. Today, we look at Dublin.

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. 

They met with Galway in the Quarter Final of the Leinster Championship and suffered a heavy defeat. Tipperary went on to knock them out of the Championship in the All Ireland Qualifiers.

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.

New Leadership

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.

Gilroy was born a winner and certainly knows how to lead a team to victory. He led the Dublin footballers to their All Ireland glory back in 2011.

He succeeds Ger Cunningham and will bid to lift the Dublin hurlers after suffering numerous defeats.

Cuala Contingent

This year Cuala won the All Ireland Senior Hurling Club Championship, after an intense reply to the Limerick side Na Piarsaigh. This was a back to back win for the Dalkey based club.

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.

Just five of the All Ireland winning team will commit to their native Dublin this Summer – Cian O’Callaghan, Oisín GoughSeán Moran, Jake Malone and David Treacy.

Mark Schutte has chosen to play for the Dublin footballers for the time being. Con O’Callaghan will also commit to the footballers again after an outstanding season in 2017.

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.

Paul Schutte looks to be ruled out for the summer, after sustaining a serious hamstring injury during the Club Final replay against Na Piarsaigh.

 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

Dublin will begin their bid for the Leinster title next weekend, where they will meet with Kilkenny in Parnell Park.

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.

Littlewoods Ireland are proud sponsors of the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. Keep yourself up to date with all the #StyleOfPlay here!

 

Ellen McConville

Ellen is the Sports Content Writer for Littlewoods Ireland and your go to gal for all things GAA. She is a fluent Irish speaker and a big fan of fashion, music and some cheese and wine as well.

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