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Boland: Dubs did their best

SHAY BOLAND'S two-year tenure as Dublin minor hurling manager came to a disappointing conclusion as his side were outplayed by an excellent Tipperary team in last Sunday's All-Ireland MHC final replay at Croke Park.

That the Dubs failed to replicate the energy and accuracy of the drawn clash will be a cause of frustration to Boland as he reflects on successive All-Ireland decider defeats at the hands of Galway and the Premier County.

"There is huge disappointment. All we ever asked is that fellas would give their best and perform and that is what they did. We have no qualms about that.

"Tipperary were the best team on the day and there's no fault attached to our lads at all," said Boland.

From the early exchanges, it was evident that the momentum generated from three weeks ago had eroded with the Dubs surprisingly flat, given the prize on offer.

The contribution from Dublin's four dual players failed to match that of the drawn encounter but Boland refused to attach too much significance to that issue, focussing on a more general malaise throughout his side. "It was a challenge," he said. "It was a particularly long break and I would have preferred a week but that's not an excuse or anything like that.

"It's difficult to try to get fellas up after a decent break like that but Tipperary were able to manage that so it probably wasn't an issue either way," Boland went on.

"The dual players are only four of 15 lads that started so I wouldn't have any qualms with anything like that.

"They are great young fellas and massive athletes and after winning last Sunday they were probably in a very good space mentally but it is a bit difficult when they don't get a chance to hurl for those periods of time," added the St Oliver Plunkett's/ Eoghan Ruadh clubman.

The future for both Boland and underage hurling in the county holds an uncertain fascination but given his tenure coincided with Dublin's first appearances in a final since 1983, it is clearly evident the progress that has been made over the past two campaigns.

Certainly, a win would have given tangible rewards to the excellent work being done with development panels and clubs throughout the county, and Boland insists that the dividends will be reaped in the not-too-distant future, whether he is directly involved or not.

"These are only small problems. We've just got to get over the line, keep doing what we're doing and hopefully at some stage we'll get the breakthrough.

"I don't know. I don't think so. I feel I've done enough at this stage. In fairness, I'm at this since under-16 and two years at minor and maybe the lads now need to hear a different voice.

"I got immense enjoyment from working with those guys. They were fantastic. Even the trips out in the car to training might seem mundane but I found them hilarious. It makes the job a lot easier.

"For those young fellas, you can never buy that experience. Look at young Shane Barrett at 16 years of age. If you had told him he'd play in two All-Irelands in one year, he'd say you were in cuckoo land.

"For the rest of the lads to get back here again on the big day is something to work on.

"This is where everyone wants to be and every young fella wants to play in Croke Park to represent their county.

"We're within touching distance."