Gough: Dubs will show no mercy to Limerick
There's been a whiff of summer in the air this week, the jackets have been cast away, ice cream sales are on the up and the Dublin hurlers are looking to capitalise on the early signs by producing a championship style display on Sunday.
Despite testing Kilkenny, Cork and Galway in recent weeks, and beating Tipperary, the Dubs could still be relegated if they lose to Limerick at Parnell Park. Anthony Daly's second season has not begun as successfully as the first and disappointing defeats to Waterford and Offaly have left them fighting for their Divison 1 lives.
They have dual motivation this weekend according to corner-back Oisin Gough, who says the panel are gunning for revenge after losing to the Treatymen in last season's All-Ireland quarter-final. And he warned Justin McCarthy's strugglers that Dublin will show no mercy on their visit to the capital.
"The Limerick game will be treated like a championship game," he said, speaking at a fundraiser for Alan Kerins' African Projects.
"It will be 100pc, straight from the go. We're not looking to go easy on Limerick, they beat us in last year's All-Ireland quarter-final, so hopefully we can get out and do the business. We felt we left that behind us, that was a big opportunity missed. Limerick were very good, they came out in the last few minutes and were excellent.
"Maybe we were lacking a bit of experience, but hopefully we have it now and can drive on."
The Cuala defender has been enjoying some fine form in a backline that has coped well with some illustrious names in recent weeks.
But they are struggling to convert chances up front which has left them in a win or bust situation come Sunday afternoon. And Gough admits the season has left last year's Leinster finalists vexed.
"It's a little bit frustrating," he admitted. "We feel like we're playing well, but not getting any breaks. A little bit of luck, maybe. We're hurling well, we're training well and the intensity is there in the matches, bar maybe the Offaly or Waterford games.
"Every other team, we've put it up to them, but we are just missing that last little bit. Hopefully it will come soon.
"He's (Daly) driving us on in training, he wants the intensity and the intensity's there. He feels that it's going to come. It will come good, sooner or later. There's talk about moral victories, but we would much rather be winning these games. But we take the positives out, we are driving these teams to the last few minutes and sometimes it's just a bit of luck and a few balls here and there.
"Kilkenny scored 2-21, when we got 0-23 and it was the two goals that made the difference. The goal this season would be to get back to the Leinster final, push on and try and win it. After that who knows."