I'd walk if faced with situation in Limerick -- Daly
Published 21/01/2010 | 05:00
ANTHONY DALY steers a happy ship in the Dublin hurling dressing-room right now, but knows the growing trend of player unrest will never be too far from any manager's door.
Limerick's ongoing dispute and Clare's recently resolved spat have again brought the issue of player power into focus but, while reluctant to comment on the situation on Shannonside, Daly knows what he would do if he lost the dressing-room.
"Everyone has to assess that for themselves, there are various situations. I don't think I'd like to stay on board at the moment if 24 guys didn't want me," he said.
Balancing the dressing-room is a delicate thing. Daly sensed he had his turn when he walked away from the Clare job after three seasons in 2006. And, even though Dublin enjoyed a hugely satisfactory season last year, keeping each individual on a 30-strong squad happy remains a challenge, with Daly admitting the upcoming Walsh Cup will be used to give game time to players who "felt they didn't get enough of a chance last year".
"My own outlook is that Dublin is a relatively happy camp. Relatively happy because if everyone is totally happy, well, you'll beat no one! You need fellas on their toes as well. A bit of conflict at times is no harm but obviously you don't want it getting out of hand."
Just 10 years out of inter-county hurling as a player, Daly believes the landscape is unrecognisable from when he was playing and that some of the fun has gone out of the game.
"In my time playing, it was very much the county board appointed whoever would be in charge of the team and you got on with it. But that has changed.
"There's so much more pressure on players now as well. In my time, we could do a few more things without everyone all around the country knowing about them. With the internet now, Jaysus you couldn't drink a bottle of beer without it being on a website the following evening.
"It's just crazy now and I suppose players feel, by virtue of the fact that their lives are totally scrutinised now, that they want everything to be right on the other side of it."
Roundly praised for progress made on the field last year, much more will now be expected. Home league ties against Kilkenny, Tipperary, Cork and Limerick means Dublin have a favourable draw and Daly reckons the league holds huge importance for his side.
"They will all be on their guard having to come to Parnell," Daly said. "It's a tight enough ground but I'm looking forward to Division One. It is the best preparation possible for the championship and that is the way we will use it.
"I suppose you are always learning lessons. That is the way of it. Every single day will be different. We will probably be inexperienced enough for the Walsh Cup. We will have to have a look at lads and that will be our best chance. We would be hoping to have our strongest out for every game in the league."
Despite Conal Keaney's decision to opt for the footballers, Shane Ryan and around half a dozen other new faces have been drafted in and Daly believes his side is ready to take the next step.
"It's great to see the lads' enthusiasm. They all want to take it on another step after last year. You would have been wondering coming back up if lads would be lazy about it but there is no sense of that. They really want to up it another gear. That's where we want to take it."