Dublin refuse to look beyond Laois

Rushe insists talk of Cats semi must wait until the O’Moore hurdle is cleared

Conor McKeon

THE only real relevance of last weekend from a Dublin hurling viewpoint is that they now know who they face on June 2 in Tullamore.

It's Laois and they have a history – albeit a fading one – of putting it up to the Dubs in early summer, yet that in itself won't stop all the talk of a Dublin-Kilkenny Leinster semi-final on June 23 in Portlaoise.

An unwarranted distraction?

“It can be,” says Liam Rushe. “We know ourselves (Laois) are not going to lie down and die for us, unfortunately.

“It can be distracting with everyone asking you about a |game you are not even in yet but you just have to deal with it.

The Young Hurler of the Year adds: “It's good to know what sort of run you'll have. Carlow pushed them close but Laois are good. We know from two years ago, we ran out seven- or eight-point winners in the end but we were only two up at the break and three or four up with five minutes to go and they'll pose a challenge.”

Just what shape of a Dublin team starts that match is a point of major mystery at the moment, because, firstly, they have a raft of new guys pushing hard for starts.

The returning Ross O'Carroll is in inspired form for county and club. David Treacy is beginning to look the forward he threatened |to be before his hamstrings |acted up while Niall McMorrow appeared from nowhere, blazed a spectacular trail and now looks a ‘live' summer option.


Against that, there are a couple of serious injuries to Martin Quilty and Paul Schutte, a lesser one to Alan McCrabbe and a suspension for Ryan O'Dwyer.

But surely the most interesting part of the Dublin make-up will be whether some, more or all of their ‘cruciate trio' make the selection.

“You certainly won't see all three starting the first day out,” Rushe predicts. “You might see one of them pushing for a spot, I'm not the manager but maybe Tommo (Tomás Brady) with Schutte out, he might throw him

in corner back but I'm not sure what (manager Anthony) Daly is thinking at the moment.

“It's just good to have them back. The three of them will have three club championship games under their belts soon and hopefully they'll come out okay.”

On the subject of Quilty's loss to yet another ACL injury – Dublin's bête noire over the past two years – Rushe admits: “I'm just used to hearing lads getting their knees ruined. I'm expecting to hear a snap myself,” he jokes, somewhat darkly.

“Schutte's wasn't as bad as feared, I think it's just four weeks which is a bit of a blessing. Aside from Quilty, we're in good shape. He was going to be pushing for a spot, it's disappointing for the panel and especially for him.”

As for relegation, Rushe main-tains he got over the blow pretty much immediately, but acknowledges, “we only have ourselves to blame.”

He points out, however, that a season in Division 1B “is not the death sentence it was. And sure, if you get into the final of that, you can go and win Division 1 as well.

“It's gone a bit strange. You can win both divisions.

“We were unfortunate. Last year we won a few games by a point and drew a couple of games in the last minute. This year we lost those. That's life. It's finer margins and we were just on the wrong side of them.

“It's a strange one really because we were going good.

“Probably going better this year than we were last year,” |he adds, “but I've put it behind me at this stage – I'm not thinking about it.”