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BRADY targets tilt at league DECIDER

KILKENNY may be the demigods of hurling but, in the world of mere mortals where all the rest reside, Dublin were among the biggest movers and shakers last year. But they aren't content to rest on their laurels -- not according to Tomás Brady.

The Allianz Hurling League won't start for another week and a half, but already Brady has confirmed that Dublin are determined to eclipse last year's impressive spring campaign when they finished fourth among the heavy-hitters of Division One. "I don't think a league final is beyond us," he maintained.


"With Anthony Daly coming in last year, we didn't know what to expect of him and he didn't know what we were capable of," the Dublin full-back expanded. "We are a lot more familiar with each other this year. The standard was set last year. We were a bit of an unknown quantity but it's up to us this year to improve because other teams know what to expect from us.

"We are just looking at the league and have mentioned trying to get to a league final. We haven't really gone beyond that. We had a good league last year and hopefully we'll be able to do better."

Last year, according to Brady, plenty of people were expecting the Dubs to be relegated. This year maybe that's no longer the case, but a good start is critical and that's why Dublin will be targetting two points from their testing NHL opener in Waterford on Sunday week.

Before that, Dublin face a Walsh Cup final against Galway this Sunday in Parnell Park (12.45, so set your alarm clocks). Anthony Daly won't have to worry about Joe Canning, his brother Ollie or Damien Hayes, to name just three stars who'll be featuring for Portumna in the All-Ireland club semi-final against Dunloy that follows at the same venue (2.30).

On the flip side, Dublin will also be short of optimum strength with a host of their college stars ineligible for Walsh Cup duty -- among them DIT player Brady, who is studying quantity surveying at Bolton Street.

Instead, he will be togging out for an 'alternative' Dublin XV in a tasty senior hurling challenge against Munster champions Tipperary under the Russell Park lights at 7.30 on Saturday evening. "It is important because the lads playing in the Walsh Cup have their place, so it's up to us to get them back," Brady outlined.

The Na Fianna powerhouse was among Dublin's most consistent performers throughout 2009, right up until the All-Ireland quarter-final against Limerick when he endured a surprisingly bumpy ride in Thurles. And still the Leinster finalists lost a game that was eminently winnable.

"The hurt and disappointment from the defeat to Limerick is still there. We'll just use that as motivation for this year and the experience we gained is vital. You learn a lot more from losing than you do winning," Brady suggested.

"A lot of lads would never have played in such a big game. Limerick had been in an All-Ireland final a couple of years earlier. I suppose we were just naïve on the day."


Regular observers of the Dublin GAA scene are equally familiar with Tomás Brady the footballer, and only last week he was the subject of high praise from his Na Fianna clubmate, Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney, who declared: "I'd love him on any team I had. He has a great attitude but the hurling all of a sudden got very big in Dublin."

There has been previous talk of possible interest from the Dublin football camp, but the capital's small ball fraternity will be reassured to hear that Brady has no code-hopping plans for 2010. "Obviously it was nice praise to get (from McGeeney) but I'll be concentrating on hurling anyway this year," he confirmed.

"I suppose there was the possibility -- I played a lot of football over the years -- prior to Anthony Daly coming on board. But there was no issue this year. Hurling was all I had my mind on."

p Tomás Brady was speaking at yesterday's GPA press conference announcing its support for the Irish Kidney Association which is hosting the sixth European Transplant Dialysis Games in Dublin next August.