LIAM RUSHE believes Dublin's campaign in Division 1B set them up for their "humiliation" at the hands of Tipperary in the league semi-final.
The Dubs returned to the top flight by beating Limerick in the 1B final, but struggled with the step-up in class when losing by 15 points to the Premier county.
"We were on top of the world after beating Limerick. We achieved our goal, promotion, after getting relegated last year. And then, two weeks later, I suppose Tipp just showed the gulf that's there between Division 1A and 1B. They had five or six seriously competitive games in the year, and we probably only had one or two – and I think it just told on the day.
"It's better to fall on our faces at the end of April than to do it at the start of July, like we did last year. It was a bit of a wake-up call.
"There's a lesson to be learned from everything. We were embarrassed really, walking off the pitch. We were humiliated, and nobody wanted to go training at all that week, so maybe it's probably good to get a bit of a kick in the a**e before championship starts."
Dublin start their championship campaign away to Wexford, and Rushe, who has been used by Anthony Daly in a variety of positions, hopes to be Dublin's first choice centre-back by the time the June 8 clash rolls around.
"It would be nice to nail down a spot, wouldn't it? To just have some advance warning, because you need a bit of training to play somewhere and to get into the right mindset.
"At least know if you are going to be a forward or a back. I'd like to nail down centre-back, but I might be required somewhere else."
Rushe is determined to make up for last year's poor campaign which saw them bow out to Kilkenny in Leinster and Clare in the back door.
"Maybe there was a bit of a burden of expectation, outside expectation, on us last year, and maybe we listened to it a bit and got ahead of ourselves.
"I don't think Kilkenny listen to anybody really. They were just focused on getting past us and they just blew us away in Portlaoise.
"We weren't happy with ourselves.
"It's not all about you, because the opposition is going to have an effect, but we could have put up more of a fight that day and we will be looking to do that if we meet them again this year."
Jack Guiney will not feature in the Wexford panel for the June 8 clash with Dublin.
The accurate free-taker sustained a head injury in an accident away from the playing fields some time ago and had to take a break from all sporting activity.
While Guiney has recovered and is expected to feature for Rathnure in their club championship opener against Glynn-Barntown on Saturday, Wexford manager Liam Dunne has ruled him out of his plans for the moment.