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Danny the star man for Dubs Stars in epic tussle

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1 January 2015; Danny Sutcliffe, Dubs Stars, in action against Martin Quilty, Dublin. Dublin v Dubs Stars - Herald / Dublin Bus Hurling Challenge 2015. Parnells GAA Club, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

1 January 2015; Danny Sutcliffe, Dubs Stars, in action against Martin Quilty, Dublin. Dublin v Dubs Stars - Herald / Dublin Bus Hurling Challenge 2015. Parnells GAA Club, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

1 January 2015; Ger O'Meara, Dubs Stars, in action against Sean Ryan, Dublin. Dublin v Dubs Stars - Herald / Dublin Bus Hurling Challenge 2015. Parnells GAA Club, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

1 January 2015; Ger O'Meara, Dubs Stars, in action against Sean Ryan, Dublin. Dublin v Dubs Stars - Herald / Dublin Bus Hurling Challenge 2015. Parnells GAA Club, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Sean Shanley, Acting Chairman of Dublin County Board, presents cup to Dub Stars Dillion Mulligan, with Julian Drury Byrne, left, Deputy Marketing Director - The Herald, Mark Kelly, 2nd from right, Dublin Bus, and Pat Keane, right, Herald Sports Editor.  Dublin v Dublin Bus/Herald Dub Stars Hurling challenge. Parnells GAA Club, Coolock, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Sean Shanley, Acting Chairman of Dublin County Board, presents cup to Dub Stars Dillion Mulligan, with Julian Drury Byrne, left, Deputy Marketing Director - The Herald, Mark Kelly, 2nd from right, Dublin Bus, and Pat Keane, right, Herald Sports Editor. Dublin v Dublin Bus/Herald Dub Stars Hurling challenge. Parnells GAA Club, Coolock, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

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1 January 2015; Danny Sutcliffe, Dubs Stars, in action against Martin Quilty, Dublin. Dublin v Dubs Stars - Herald / Dublin Bus Hurling Challenge 2015. Parnells GAA Club, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Ger CUNNINGHAM had the hands deep in the pocket as he stood at the Dublin dugout in Coolock yesterday.

He also had the woolly hat on to protect him from the cold and the rain.

His first day on the Dublin Bridge thus proved a wintry one.

But, just like the elements, the mood in Parnell's brightened for the annual Dublin Bus/The Herald Dubs Stars joust.

The Parnell's folk proved the perfect hosts at their state-of-the-art facility.

They reported early for duty. Plates of sausages, toast and tea set them up for the day.

A decent crowd showed up. And they saw a decent hurling duel.

A minute's silence honoured the memory of Andy Kettle.

How Andy would have enjoyed the action.

On New Year's Eve, Anthony Daly was on television at College Green.

He said it was his first New Year's Eve off in six years.

The new Dublin manager was out with his players on the all-weather before the throw-in.

And when the final whistle blew, he was surrounded by the reporters on the soft turf.

He was content with the 70 minutes. A gentle enough introduction to banishing the Christmas pudding.

As he chatted, the music played behind him up on the balcony.

"Most of the regular guys were on the Dubs Stars team, so it was an opportunity for us to have a look at some of the younger fellas around the place," remarked Dublin's new conductor.

"We need to see what's out there. It's about fellas putting up their hand for selection.

"The conditions weren't great, but it was a good opportunity to see what players could do.

"Some guys had impressed in the club championship, and it was a chance for them."

ADVENTURE

But it's still very much the opening pages of a fresh adventure.

"We are only back since December 1. Players are just finding their feet. We are getting used to them, and they are getting used to us.

"We have the Walsh Cup coming up, so that will present its own opportunities."

Ger kept his answers to the point. He wasn't about to promise a blue moon.

"We'll keep our resolutions quiet for a while yet," he quipped.

"All the players from last year, with the exception of Stephen Hiney, are available."

He wasn't reaching for the stars on the dual player issue.

He'd welcome any duals that should enter the building, but he doesn't see it happening.

"They know where we are, but the footballers have what they have, and we have what we have. I don't see anybody coming across."

Ger's Dublin were chasing the game from early on as they played against the stiff breeze.

"The Stars had the more established players than us. They got the lead and they held onto it fairly well."

Dublin were in charge for much of the second period.

They kept pegging back the lead, but the Stars had stretched too far into the distance.

"I felt that it was a good pipe-opener for an exhibition match," offered Ger.

And the tussle also saw the new penalty rule being used when Paul Winters converted from the spot.

"The penalty rule needed to be changed. I'm all for the new rule. It's worth a go.

"One-on-one will add excitement to the whole thing, and I don't see the player scoring everytime," said the former Cork number one.

The Stars were ahead at the break, 1-13 to 1-3. Danny Sutcliffe was excelling at centre half-forward.

He had an earnest joust with Martin Quilty, Dublin's number 6.

CHALLENGING

On one occasion in the first half, Danny and the Dublin midfielder, John Hetherton, were challenging for the ball.

Danny tumbled onto the sod. John offered him a helping hand.

It wasn't a picnic in Dublin 5, but the players still had the odd word for each other.

Sutcliffe scored a stunning point before the interval as he made space with a delightful dummy and arrowed over.

Andrew Morris also had a towering match at midfield. He capped it with a splendid score as he intercepted the sliotar and drilled over the bar.

Dublin's Aodhán Clabby knocked in the opening goal to draw Dublin level - 1-1 to 0-4.

Yet on 33 minutes, Fionn O Riain Broin produced a goal for the Stars. He had a terrific outing at corner-forward.

Shane Durkin was top of the class at right half-back for the Stars.

The penalty from Winters, early in the second half, sparked Dublin's revival.

John Hetherton, at midfield, was at the heart of it. They came within four points of the Stars.

Yet goals from Shane Stapleton and a second from O Riain Broin saw the Stars prevail.

Media duties over, Ger Cunningham went upstairs for the grub.

The locals gave him the warmest of welcomes.

An intriguing New Year awaits for the small ball.

p SCORERS - Dubs Stars: F O Riain Broin 2-4 (0-1 65), D Sutcliffe 0-5, S Stapleton 1-1, C Carton, C Conway 0-2 each, A Morris, O O'Rorke,R Hardy, P Maguire 0-1 each. Dublin: P Winters 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-2f), A Clabby 1-2, C McBride, J Hetherton 0-2 each, M Quilty, G Whelan 0-1 each.

p DUBS STARS: M Collins; C O'Callaghan, G McManus, C Mangan; S Durkin, G O'Meara, C MacGabhann; D Mulligan, A Morris; C Carton, D Sutcliffe, C Conway; F O Riain Broin, O O'Rorke, S Stapleton. Subs used: R Hardy, P Maguire, D Quinn.

p DUBLIN: C Dooley; S O'Connor, S Barrett, C Murphy; S Lambert, M Quilty, C Robinson; C McBride, J Hetherton; F McGibb, G Whelan, P Winters; S Ryan, J Roche, A Clabby. Subs used: S McClelland, R Murphy, Peadar Carton.

p REF: D Harrington (St Sylvester's).

p WIDES - Dubs Stars: 14 (9+5). Dublin: 18 (9+9).

p CONDITIONS: Difficult: Wind and rain.

p PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Danny Sutcliffe.


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