Daly calls for patience as Ryan's return remains a work in progress
Last year's Evening Herald/ Dublin Bus Blue Stars fixture ended in confusion over the final scores, but there was no doubting the victors at Fingallians' GAA club yesterday as Dublin eased past the composite side.
The new helmet laws made their debut, but they were never likely to be tested as the players kept their headgear on throughout -- if only to help keep the heat in on a bitterly cold afternoon in Swords.
Shane Ryan was not making his debut as such, but he marked his second coming as a Dublin hurler with a point. However, the 2008 footballing All Star's return to the small ball game looked very much like a work in progress.
The Naomh Mearnog man lined out at centre half-forward before being moved inside at half-time, and manager Anthony Daly admitted after the game that Ryan needs plenty of practice with the sliotar before he is ready.
He struggled out the pitch, and was outshone by impressive opposite number Liam Rushe, who landed an impressive range of early points for the Dubs Stars.
At one stage, Ryan earned an admonishment from Daly for a short pass that went astray as frustration began to show.
But his work at full-forward after the break was more encouraging as he showed well for the ball and set up a goal chance for Kevin Flynn, as well as scoring a point of his own.
And Daly warned any Dublin fans expecting big things from his new recruit to have patience.
"Shane needs a ton of hurling," he said. "The works starts now really. We need as much hurling as we can get done from now on."
While mindful of the challenge-match nature of the fare, the Clareman declared himself pleased with the commitment shown by the players on both sides at the outset of his second season in charge.
"I thought it was a better challenge this year," he said. "The challenges were harder and fellas were going in full-blooded, which was great to see because it's early January -- it's hard to be motivated for it.
"We put it to them that it was sort of a trial for everyone, so that's what you want to get out of it. There was a lot of ring-rustiness there.
"We won't have the college lads for the Walsh Cup, any of them that are in it, so we'll be looking to go down a bit deeper in the reserves. So it's good to see who's sharp and who's not sharp, who needs a bit of work.
"There was good commitment -- some lads went very well. Niall Corcoran was awful sharp for the time of the year, as was David Curtin.
"Even for the Dubs Stars, Liam Rushe scored three or four lovely points in the first half. But we won't be taking much notice of today."
The groundkeeping team at the north Dublin club deserve huge credit for their work in keeping the pitch playable, as 95pc of the pitch remained frost-free.
The Dubs Stars started the better, with All Star Alan McCrabbe and Rushe putting them 0-4 to 0-1 in front early on.
After a sluggish start, Dublin began to motor and Peadar Carton fed Curtin, who finished well to level.
Successive scores from John Kelly, Curtin, David Treacy and Kevin Flynn gave them a cushion and they would not relinquish the lead.
McCrabbe and Rushe attempted to peg them back, but a Curtin point and a goal from Flynn's well-struck free were followed by a Flynn free and Carton point that sent Dublin in 2-8 to 0-7 up at the break.
A raft of changes meant the flow Daly's charges had built up was interrupted in the second half, but after a brief indication that a comeback might be on, Dublin managed to keep the Blue Stars at arm's length.
Flynn was in fine free-taking form -- ending with 1-6 -- while the full-back line dealt with most of what was thrown at them.
Kevin O'Loughlin managed a goal from an unorthodox 14-yard free for the Dubs Stars, who got the gap down to seven points, but Faughs sub Maurice O'Brien ended the day on a high for Dublin with a sublime goal from 30 yards that gave substitute goalkeeper Brendan McLoughlin no chance whatsoever.
Overall, it was a decent run-out to shake off the Christmas cobwebs for Daly and his charges, but as the man himself said, "Tuesday night, that's when the real stuff starts."
Scorers -- Dublin: K Flynn 1-6 (1-2f), D Curtin 1-3, P Carton 0-3, G O'Meara 1-0, J Kelly 0-2, S Ryan, J Boland 0-1 each.Dubs Stars: K O'Loughlin 1-2 (1-1f), A McCrabbe (2f), L Rushe 0-3 each, P Ryan 0-2 (1f), J McCaffrey 0-1.
Dublin -- A Nolan; R Traynor, T Brady, O Gough; S Hiney, T Sweeney, N Corcoran; J Boland, S Lambert; D Curtin, S Ryan, J Kelly; K Flynn, D Treacy, P Carton. Subs: F McGarry for Nolan (h-t), G O'Meara for Hiney (h-t), M O'Brien for Treacy (h-t), D Byrne for Sweeney (h-t), M May for Gough (h-t), Sweeney for Lambert (48).
Dubs Stars -- G Maguire; J Duffy, C Hennerby, P Brennan; M Travers, D O'Reilly, D Spain; S Durkin, A McCrabbe; D Sweeney, L Rushe, P Kelly; K O'Loughlin, P Ryan, K Warren. Subs: J McCaffrey for Brennan (25), B McLoughlin for Maguire (h-t), S O'Sullivan for Duffy (36).
Ref -- E Mullarkey (Lucan Sarsfields).