ANTHONY DALY admits he is "sad to to see" Mikey Carton opt out of the Dublin panel for the remainder of the season.
A firm Daly favourite during the Clareman's six years in charge in the capital, Carton informed the Dublin management that he was leaving the squad in the wake of Dublin's 10-point win over Laois in which he played no part.
"I had tremendous respect for him as a person as well as a hurler. If we weren't manager/player, we would have been great friends anyway," Daly told the Herald. "I thought he was just a super guy for us. He was a real leader for us without having to say too much.
"I'd be sad to see him go. But sometimes that just happens," Daly added.
"I wouldn't be critical of management."
Carton's most recent appearance for Dublin was a chastising afternoon at full-back in Tullamore when he and those directly around him were cut open early and fatally by a wind-propelled, ravenous Galway inside trio.
"I never thought that was a happy move," Daly admitted of the attempts to convert the O'Toole's man into a number thee.
"We tried that and I think an unknown Shane O'Donnell took him for 2-4 in a challenge match in January 2013.
"He had two goals scored and a couple of points and Mikey says to me 'Dalo, will ya bring me out of there!'
"Mikey was an exceptional five or seven. He read the play so well. He was so calm."
Subsequently, he was part of the match day squad in Portlaoise last Saturday but played no part. Dublin manager Ger Cunningham re-established Liam Rushe as Dublin's centre-back, handed a debut to Shane Barrett on one wing and retained Chris Crummey on the opposite flank.
When Barrett went off with a blood injury, Shane Durkin came in as his replacement, suggesting Carton had fallen right down Cunningham's pecking order.
"If a guy's not happy to be a sub and he decides he wants to walk ... it's an awful investment for some guys. Especially if you've been a regular," Daly points out.
"You probably feel that you're down the pecking order.
"He's married now and his job (with the fire brigade) is obviously very demanding and we had to reach compromises with him about that.
"But he was great. He'd arrive in his uniform or the odd time, the fire truck would drop him off and collect him again!
"Sometimes Mikey might arrive and he'd have had no sleep and he'd do a training session.
"If it's the end of him, it's a pity," Daly concluded.
"Because he's a really good lad. He's a great guy around the place."