Sunday 20 August 2017

'They flopped so many times' - Ger Loughnane says absent Dublin hurlers don't deserve place in Cunningham's squad

Ger Cunningham has been backed by Ger Loughnane (inset)
Ger Cunningham has been backed by Ger Loughnane (inset)

Harry Clarke

Ger Loughnane has defended Dublin manager Ger Cunningham against critics who have suggested he failed to hold on to some of the county's experienced hurlers.

Numerous members of the Dublin panel have opted not to play for their county and earlier this week, Conor McKeon of the Herald compiled an alternative Dublin 15 based on the absent players.

That feature was subsequently published on this website and tonight on the Sunday Game on RTE, Loughnane argued that many of those players had flopped in previous years.

"Let's look at the alternative team. The alternative team is made up of players who are there since 2009, since Dalo (Anthony Daly) came in as manager," said Loughnane.

"You look at the first year Dalo came in, 2009, they were in the Leinster final and played against the greatest Kilkenny team of all time who were at the height of their power and they only lost by six points.

"The following year they came in against Kilkenny and they were beaten by 19 points and then they lost to Antrim so a disastrous year there with all these alternative players.

"2011 they had their best year ever. They won the league by beating Kilkenny in the final by 12 points, then they came to the Leinster final and Kilkenny beat them by 11 so a wipeout there.

"Worst of all was 2012. They were beaten by 18 points by Kilkenny with so many of these alternative players. You come to the next year and they win the Leinster final, brilliant year. They are doing really well in the All Ireland semi-final, Ryan O'Dywer is sent off and they lose to Cork. Great year with these alternative players.

So you think they will come next year and do themselves justice..they meet Kilkenny and Kilkenny wipe them off the pitch and Tipp beat them by 13 after that. The point is if you look at all these alternative players that were on these teams and they flopped so many times.

"In fairness to Ger Cunningham, he kept them all in 2015 but they lost again by another 12 points.

"Last year he introduced a lot of young players and he played really with today's defence last year and from there up he played with a lot of the older players and, again, they flopped against Galway. If you were a manager what would you say? Will we go with the young lads?

"In the meantime, they had won three Leinster minor titles and three Under-21 titles. So do you say 'we will ignore all these young lads and we will stick with the older lads'?"

Eddie Brennan, meanwhile, argues that the Dubs needed a Conal Keaney-type character on the field in their 2-28 to 1-17 defeat against Galway.

"Today could you have done with a fella like Conal Keaney to go toe-to-toe with Daithi Burke? Could they do with a Mark Schutte? Absolutely. A quality player like that has to be in there," said Brennan.

"For me there is an onus on players who want to play and want to be there for your buddies. At the end of the day when you go into a county set-up, no more than a club set-up, it has to be one in all in. It has to be for the good of the team and regardless, there maybe a clash with a manager but you have to put that to one side unless it's something of a very serious nature."

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