Peter Kelly: Dublin hurlers back training and looking forward to Walsh Cup
Dublin were presented with their Leinster championship, National League Division 1B and Walsh Cup medals at a gala celebration over the weekend.
However, one of their newly crowned hurling All Stars declared the occasion an "anti-climax" as the medals they wanted most were not there for them. Peter Kelly admitted the sense of loss really hit home at the presentation at the end of a glorious year.
"It feels a million years ago since we won those cups, after the summer that developed. It was a bit of an anti-climax really because the one cup (Liam MacCarthy) we wanted wasn't at the top table," said the Lucan Sarsfields man.
"But it gives us incentive to drive on. We're not happy to sit on this achievement. Those cups will be thrown under the table. The lads are already back training, looking forward to the Walsh Cup."
Kelly, who flies out with the All Stars to Shanghai today, went on to say that a sending-off in a game of hurling does not have as significant an impact as most people assume.
Ryan O'Dwyer picked up a second yellow card in the 49th minute of the semi-final against Cork, but Kelly felt the game was in the balance until Patrick Horgan's goal proved the "final nail in the coffin".
"I don't think in championship hurling, when it's going that fast, you notice that anyone is sent off," he said. "It is a psychological blow, but it doesn't really have much effect on the game. Unfortunately, the goal was the killer blow."
Dublin have been inconsistent during Anthony Daly's five-year reign with a progressive year inevitably followed by a regressive one. It is something Kelly and his colleagues are keen to address.
"This was our best year, so we'll be keenly aware that that's the pinnacle we've set. We were a lot more mature this year. It was definitely a noticeable improvement and we'll try and bring that into 2014. It's scary the mistakes we made in those off years (2010 and 2012), so we'll be keenly aware not to make them again."
Kelly says they will be quite happy to play the All-Ireland champions of the last two years, Clare and Kilkenny, in Parnell Park instead of Croke Park with any prospective 'spring series' likely to feature league football games only, because of the way that fixtures are being scheduled.
"Croke Park is where you want to be. It's where you want to be in September, it's where you want to be throughout the year. It's the best pitch in the country.
"But that's out of our hands, so we're not going to focus on it too much. At the same time Parnell Park is our home and that's where all our fans go. We actually haven't played too many games in Croke Park."