Morris: Dubs can claw Cats

Niall Scully

JOEY MORRIS is O'Toole's double agent. He manages the senior hurlers one week, and the senior footballers the next.

He was a noted Dublin hurler. He believes that Anthony Daly is entitled to be optimistic about Saturday.

"I think Dublin have a good chance of beating Kilkenny, I really do," insists Joey.

"Portlaoise will suit them, and I feel Dublin are one of the few teams that can match Kilkenny in a championship match.

"The Dublin hurling people will travel in big numbers. They can be sure that they'll get to see a first-class performance from Dublin.

"And with Michael Fennelly out, Dublin's prospects are even brighter. Fennelly is a big loss to them."

Down by the Nore, the hurling and the football doesn't mix too well, but it's a different story on Blunden Drive.

Both are operating at Dublin's summit. In the modern era, the O'Toole's hurling pedigree is well known. But they are also accomplished footballers, as their three-card trick proved.

"We did a three-two-one," explains Joey as he recalls the elevation of the club's big ball brothers from the AFL Division 3 to the AFL Division 1.

It's more than 20 years since they were last in the boardroom of Dublin football.

"It was in the '80s and I was on the team myself.


"The fellas have come from the bottom of Division 3 to Division 1 in just one and a half years. That's phenomenal.

"It's a great achievement by the lads. It has been so long since we have been in the top grade.

"In that period, so many footballers have come and gone from O'Toole's without playing in Division 1.

"It's a fabulous tribute to the lads that they are in Division 1 of both. But when we are down the numbers in the football, we struggle. We just don't have the numbers that the big football clubs have.

"It's hard to operate in Division 1 in both codes, but at least at this time of the year the hurling championship is on hold, so that's a help."

The O'Toole's hurlers are safely into the quarter-final of the championship. The footballers have suffered two defeats in the championship to Parnell's and St Sylvester's.

They were never dreaming of football gold. "No, to hold our Division 1 and senior football championship status was always the priority," added Joey.

For the Dubs to beat Kilkenny would be another famous day's work.

Joey played against the Cats many times.

"Ah, you'd want to have a long memory to remember me playing for Dublin," he chuckles.

And off he goes, the Larriers' 007 disappearing into the North Dublin night.