Twin-track formula suits Dubs' fab four
Having four dual players in his starting line-up doesn't worry Dublin minor hurling boss Shay Boland.
He got his contingent back after Dublin beat Galway in the All-Ireland minor football semi-final in Croke Park last week and then it was full steam ahead for the next challenge -- overcoming Galway today in the All-Ireland minor hurling final.
"It's difficult enough to manage the dual player situation," admits Boland. "But we know the lie of the land before it happens so we just deal with it. We work together as best we can -- we have to trust one another not to flog them."
The players involved in both set-ups are Ciarán Kilkenny, Eric Lowndes, Cormac Costello, and Emmet ó Conghaile and they would appear to be coping fine with their heavy workload. They are well motivated and have great confidence in their own ability and they now have two All-Ireland minor titles to fight for.
They are also supremely fit and while the matches are coming thick and fast, Boland doesn't see burn-out as a problem, although as the players get older maybe then a choice will have to be made.
"I certainly wouldn't encourage people to give up football at the behest of hurling and I wouldn't expect anyone else to do the same, but it does happen.
"Up to minor level I don't see any reason why players can't do both; at senior level, it is a bit more difficult to do the two and maybe there is a case there to make a decision. I don't think at minor it's as much of an issue."
And while a lot is expected of the dual players from a performance point of view, they will have gained plenty of big match-day experience which will be an asset to them today.
"They are getting great experience," adds Boland. "Fellas often go through a full inter-county career without playing in Croke Park but these lads have been there six or eight times."
Boland also believes that the success of the senior team has done a lot to help these minor hurlers. The fact that they have defeated some of the great forces in hurling over the last couple of years has given the minors the confidence to do it themselves.
"I think your flagship team is your senior team and if they are going well then I think it makes its way down the system and lots of young fellas watch the seniors doing well and they want to be there too.
"At juvenile level, they are getting plenty of matches with the squads so they are used to playing these county teams and through that they have developed a confidence from being able to beat them and being able to stay with them so that's not an issue for them. If the senior team is going well, it really feeds into the younger structure. Ultimately, being senior hurlers for Dublin is their goal."
Having Clare hurling legend Anthony Daly in charge of the seniors is also a bonus. He keeps in touch with what's happening in the team and is always there if Boland needs any advice.
"Anthony is very much of the mindset you can keep yourself to yourself but if you want anything it's no problem, just ask. It's great having him involved with Dublin. There are plenty of people who have the ability to train teams but he has an ability that's a little bit different. I think he can get the best out of fellas. He is with us and we are delighted."
Dublin: C Ryan; E Lowndes, C O'Callaghan, S McClelland; C Crummey, J Desmond, M McCaffrey; C Cronin, G Whelan; E Ó Conghaile, C McHugh, C Kilkenny; C Costello, A Clabby, P Winters.
Galway: S Mannion; C Diviney, P Killeen, P Mannion; A Tuohy, S Sweeney, J Hansbury; P Brehony, D Higgins; J Flynn, J Glynn, B Lane; G O'Donoghue, J Carr, S Moloney.
Sunday Indo Sport