Plunkett calls on Dublin to bring Parnell form to Croke Park
Published 23/02/2016 | 02:30
Last Saturday night, the Dublin hurlers ensured that their unbeaten run in Parnell Park will extend into 2017 at least.
They haven't lost, in league or championship, in Donnycarney since 2011 when John McIntyre's Galway ousted them. Their last home game of the campaign comes as a curtain-raiser to the footballers in Croke Park.
And while their splitting of the fixtures between the two venues skews their impressive record in Parnell somewhat, there's no denying that while Jim Gavin's side thrive on Jones' Road, the hurlers seem to love the comforts of Donnycarney.
All of the major players have come to Parnell and lost at various stages. Last weekend, the beaten All-Ireland finalists could only muster six points in the second half when playing with a wind that on occasion saw James Skehill's puck-outs land around the Dubs' 20-metre line.
Dublin produced that sort of dominant performance just seven days after a complete no-show against Tipperary in Semple Stadium.
"We love playing here, we love Parnell Park," Daire Plunkett explains. "I think we just got back to our basics (against Galway), just got back to our plan and as you saw the result was a lot different.
"We had a very honest meeting after the match last week. We all knew it wasn't good enough. We looked for a reaction this week and I think we got it."
Perhaps the comfort the Dubs take from playing in Parnell is best reflected in how their record tails off when they line out in their 'other home' in Croke Park.
When beating Limerick in last year's league quarter-final, the Sky Blues recorded their first win at the venue since their 2013 Leinster final win.
The obvious difference between the two venues is the comparatively tight dimensions of Parnell Park but Ger Cunningham's men have already won in Croke Park this year, beating Wexford in the Walsh Cup final. "We do love playing (in Parnell Park) but if you asked me where I'd most like to play, I'd say Croke Park every day of the week," says Plunkett.
"That's the best pitch in the country. Why wouldn't you want to play there?"
Cork come to Croke Park in a couple of weeks' time when the hurlers will act as a curtain-raiser to the footballers. In the same fixture last year, the Rebels hit 0-34 in a facile victory.
It's another game that is likely to have a big influence on who is battling it out at the bottom of the table this year as a pointless Cork come to the capital.
"It's a completely different thing. We're a different team from last year. So are they," Plunkett asserts. "We're looking at it game on game. It's very clichéd to say it but we're looking at implementing what we want to do, week on week."