DUBLIN hurling manager Anthony Daly has pulled off a major coup by landing highly-rated ex-Tipperary trainer Ross Dunphy for their 2013 campaign.
Dunphy, who had a successful stint as Toomevara trainer in the past, was part of the Tipperary set-up as recently as August.
He replaces Martin Kennedy as Daly's new team trainer. Kennedy has moved to the Dublin footballers as has Tomás Brady, a key figure in the hurling team over the past number of years.
"Both Martin and Tomás are huge losses but there is nothing I can do about it," Daly told the Sunday Independent. "Tomás has been a key player for us but he wasn't fully right for a lot of last year and we had to try and get on without him. I thought Martin would be with us but he wants to try football and what can I do? We've also lost David Curtin, a great servant to Ballyboden and Dublin, to retirement, but that's the way it works.
"That's also why it was so important to get someone of the calibre of Ross to come in and work with us. It gives everyone a lift. He has the experience and he is a perfect fit for us at the moment. Both the Tipp and Toomevara players speak very highly of him and he was also involved with Pat Helebert in Confey."
Daly also revealed that he will return to taking a more hands-on approach to training next season.
"We met three of the players and then sent them away among themselves for a group meeting that lasted four hours," he said.
"We provided a facilitator to go into that meeting with them and it was only after I got their feedback and I reviewed it all that I made the final call to return as manager.
"A lot of things came back to us -- some we took into account and others we didn't -- but the bottom line is that I'll be back on the training paddock with them from next season. I had taken a step back from that side of things in the last two years but I'm back involved with coaching the LIT freshers and the Clarecastle minors, we're playing in today's county final, and I'll be doing more of that with Dublin again.
"So despite losing Tomás and Martin we're hopefully all set. The letters of invitation to players are going out now, we're meeting on Thursday night and it will be back into it big time from there."
Daly is hopeful that there will be no distractions in 2013 similar to this year when the hype grew to crazy proportions with many in the hurling world expecting them to beat Kilkenny in the Leinster championship.
"There will be no talk of beating Kilkenny or any of that rubbish," the manager says.
"Last year Laois beat us in the Walsh Cup and our excuse on the way home was that we were better off out of that competition. Well, we weren't. The rot started from there. We started losing games. If Jimmy was winning matches in Donegal, Dalo was losing matches," he smiled ruefully.
"So we can only go back and try to be the best that we can be in 2013. There were some distractions last season and that will change. We're also hopeful that some of the leading figures from the All-Ireland minor final teams of the past two years will join us which will introduce freshness and will drive everyone on. There is a massive plus, too, in that Conal Keaney and Stephen Hiney are flying again after their serious injuries last year."