Dublin have got to show belief to keep progressing – Kelly
Dublin hurling All-Star Peter Kelly insists his side must build on last year's Leinster championship success if they are to be considered genuine All-Ireland title contenders.
Anthony Daly's side saw off Kilkenny in a semi-final replay before beating Galway in the Leinster final but their run came to an abrupt end when they were beaten by Cork.
For Kelly, the pain of the quarter-final defeat still lingers but he admits he and his team-mates are using it to fuel their ambition ahead of tomorrow's clash with Wexford.
"We don't want to be known as a flash-in-the-pan team. We don't want to be a yo-yo team who are up and down. It's a tagline that we have and eradicating that is a big task for us," Kelly says.
"Every team wants to be consistent. I'm sure Clare are thinking similarly, they want to prove that they weren't a flash in the pan.
"You can't focus on it too much at the same time because you can lose focus.
"We're going into the championship with a bit of a pep in our step after hurling well in the league campaign.
"Confidence is good in the camp and we can't wait to get stuck into it again."
It's been 11 weeks since Dublin last played a competitive game (a relegation play-off win against Waterford) but Kelly maintains that the break from the inter-county set up has been a good thing for the players.
"The little break we had with our clubs was important because we got away from each other. The league was very intense.
"It was seven weeks in a row so getting away from seeing the same faces every week was good. There'll be a nice freshness there now."
The 25-year-old was central to Dublin's success last year and he is keen for his side to realise their potential. The Dubs will have to plan without Danny Sutcliffe as he was ruled out with a hand injury but Kelly is confident that they have learned from last year's mistakes.
"Keeping 15 players on the pitch is one of the key things we need to learn from last year as is, I suppose, playing with confidence and knowing we're good enough.
"We won Leinster last year because we were good enough and the players need to realise that," he said defiantly.
On the back of the their recent success, Kelly maintains that Dublin as a county has caught the hurling bug again.
"Five years ago, a lot of kids in Dublin wouldn't have been holding hurls but that's changed. There is more of an interest in Dublin hurling.
"The support in Croke Park last year was unbelievable and we're hoping for more of the same this year."
A win tomorrow is one way of ensuring that happens.