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Daly: Big guns must react quickly against champions

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Dublin manager Anthony Daly. Photo: Sportsfile

Dublin manager Anthony Daly. Photo: Sportsfile

Galway manager Anthony Cunningham. Photo: Sportsfile

Galway manager Anthony Cunningham. Photo: Sportsfile

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Dublin manager Anthony Daly. Photo: Sportsfile

THE All-Ireland champions return to the capital next Sunday, but the early-season NHL showdown between Clare and Dublin has been given an added frisson of significance by the latter's day-one debacle in Galway.

Put bluntly, any repeat performance and it could get scary for the stuttering Sky Blues. Anthony Daly knows that, but he was inclined to view the seven-day turnaround as a positive as he grappled to explain yesterday's 13-point trimming.

Dublin had started with 12 of the team that faced off against Cork in last year's All-Ireland semi-final. Galway had more rookies and fringe players in their line-up. You'd never have guessed.

"Too many of our big guns didn't perform on the day," Daly lamented.

"They know that themselves, they're clever lads, and they'll need to bounce back quickly because the likes of Clare will destroy you as well if you don't stand up and win your ball.

Primary

"I mean, you must win primary possession, especially in conditions like that.

"It's tough conditions, and if you're not winning dirty ball you won't be setting up any platform for scores.

"Look, once we were down to 14 men it was futile enough really then at that stage.

"What were we behind? Twelve, 13, 14 points, with 14 men – you're not going to be turning it around from there.

"Thank God it's only a week (to the Clare game in Parnell Park), to tell you the truth. Get back and do two training sessions and go at it next week and see can we improve."

Conal Keaney will be available after his double-yellow dismissal, and his manager was "not arguing" with referee Johnny Ryan's decision-making.

However, he took issue with any suggestion that Dublin could face a Groundhog Day repeat of what happened in 2012, when they struggled to bounce back from a poor league opener at the same venue.

"No, I wouldn't think like that," Daly countered.

Different

"If I did, I wouldn't get out of bed at all in the morning. I think every time is different; every thing we do is different. You can't say this is going to be a replica of the season two years ago. If it is, Kilkenny are going to win the All-Ireland.

"It's up to ourselves to pick ourselves up, including myself and everybody else involved."

Daly insisted he wasn't surprised by the quality of Galway's performance, having spied their second half surge (in the guise of Connacht) against Munster the previous weekend. And for his part, Galway counterpart Anthony Cunningham was keen to downplay any premature talk about either his own team's buoyancy (we've been down this road before with false Galwegian dawns) or Dublin's deflation.

"Look, it was a day when everything we struck went over the bar and Dublin were probably a bit off colour in parts," Cunningham surmised. "That definitely won't be the way next July or August when you meet them. It's great for us, but it's only a platform and that's the biggest thing. Our biggest concentration now is Waterford next Sunday."

Hailed

Cunningham hailed the contribution of his young guns and also referenced Iarla Tannian at centre-back and Ronan Burke at full-back – "positions Galway have struggled in for the last few years".

But as for getting carried away after one round, he had this emphatic rebuttal: "Absolutely not."


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