Cunningham's Dublin ready to cast off 'inconsistent' tag, insists Plunkett
There's scarcely a conversation surrounding Dublin hurlers these days that doesn't revolve around the word 'consistency'. Following on from the boom and bust pattern they went through under Anthony Daly, where new highs could be followed by frustrating lows, Dublin are still trying to figure out how to maintain their level of performance under Ger Cunningham.
This year, after winning the Walsh Cup, they didn't show up in their League opener against Tipperary but have won three on the bounce since then, including clipping the wings of high-flying Waterford in Walsh Park last time out.
And Daire Plunkett believes they can take lessons from tomorrow's opponents Kilkenny on how to stay at the top.
"There's a reason that they bring that level of consistency over the last 15 years now," Plunkett said after watching the Cats come from behind to beat Cork. It's just that non-stop looking for the next performance.
"That's what we're looking to strive towards. To get rid of the 'which Dublin will show up this week?' and get to that level of consistency.
"You don't want to have any doubt going into a game. Like I said, 'which Dublin will show up?'. You want to be sure and that's just getting back to the basics. Against Tipp, we didn't work hard enough and we didn't use the ball well enough.
"The last three or four weeks, any of the reports from our games have talked about our workrate and our use of the ball, and that's what we really needed to get back to. When we have that workrate, we're a very, very good team."
Dublin seem to have added an new attacking edge to their play this year. They have found the net seven times in the League so far, addressing an issue that seemed to be holding them back at times.
"That's something we definitely had to bring to our game," said Plunkett. "We need to score more goals and the more consistent we can get with our play, the better.
"With the lads still going and the rest of us supporting them, hopefully we'll be able to keep this going and compete."
With both sides already guaranteed a League quarter-final spot, there's only pride and league placings to play for.
But based on their stirring comeback against Cork, Plunkett expects Kilkenny to be fully loaded tomorrow afternoon.
"We're playing the All-Ireland champions in Nowlan Park. They don't give out easy victories," he said.
"We're after putting out three good performances in a row and now trying to get a fourth one and keep the momentum going.
"The last four weeks we've put three performances back to back. So we're really happy with how we've built up the momentum.
"That week after the Tipperary game wasn't easy but it's been a lot nicer since then."