Capital gains must be made - Cunningham

Frank Roche

GALWAY boss Anthony Cunningham believes Dublin should still be part of hurling's top-flight -- despite banishing them to Division 1B over the weekend.

Cunningham's argument is that hurling needs Dublin in the top tier, but his plea for yet more tinkering with the Allianz Hurling League format is sure to fall on deaf ears in the corridors of Croke Park.

"I think they'll probably look at it - I hope they look at it," the Galway manager declared after watching his side eclipse the Dubs by 4-21 to 0-19 in Saturday's relegation play-off replay.

"I don't think Dublin should be (demoted). And no disrespect to any other team, but I think hurling has now improved so much in the capital. We need that, and we need Dublin top-flight and you need all those matches in Croke Park - they've been excellent matches under lights," he concluded.

His relegation rival, Anthony Daly, struck a more philosophical note about what awaits in Division 1B. "We're down. What harm," he suggested. "It is what it is, just get on with it, but it's not the same as the old system. "

Daly's focus will now divert to the upcoming rounds of the Dublin SHC, where he hopes that long-term cruciate casualties Stephen Hiney, Tomás Brady and Conal Keaney can prove their fitness ahead of Dublin's Leinster quarter-final against Laois or Carlow on June 2.

Hiney and Brady have already made league comebacks with their respective clubs, while it's hoped that Keaney will have shaken off a minor ankle problem to line out alongside Hiney for Ballyboden St Enda's next weekend.

Boden begin their quest for a Dublin SHC six-in-a-row with a Group C clash against St Vincent's in Parnell Park next Saturday evening (6.30), while Brady will tog out at the same venue three days earlier, when Na Fianna tackle Faughs in Group D (Wednesday, 8.15).

Dublin skipper Johnny McCaffrey is hoping they will have a wealth of selection options come June, but he cautioned: "Everyone's not going to come back fully fit, everyone's not going to be on top form at certain times of the year. We have assembled a panel now that are good enough to be able to come in and compete with the big teams, and I think we've shown that over the last couple of weeks."