| 15.4°C Dublin

Dotsy in favour of knockout


David O'Callaghan. Photo: SPORTSFILE

David O'Callaghan. Photo: SPORTSFILE

David O'Callaghan. Photo: SPORTSFILE


David O'Callaghan never got to sample the Leinster SHC round-robin format of the last two years, having retired from Dublin duty in November 2017.

But ‘Dotsy’ reckons the probable return of knockout provincial hurling could be the ideal incentive for some of his former Sky Blue colleagues as the GAA seeks to rescue an inter-county season from the vice-grip of Covid-19.

The latest speculation has touted such a scenario, with provincial fare starting in late October and a second-chance qualifier system feeding into the All-Ireland SHC series, all to be wrapped up before Christmas.

In these unprecedented circumstances, O’Callaghan (above) sees merit in a short, sharp, knockout championship.

“If I was a player, I think that would be appealing, the way things have obviously worked out for the year,” he said.

“If you’re getting into a Leinster semi-final, to win one game to get to a final, I think everyone would be happy just to see action.

“At the end of the day, it’s not like the lads will have been doing four or five months (of training) and the argument is, ‘Jesus, they’re only getting a game and they’re gone.’

“Lads will be able to enjoy playing with their club, build up a bit of momentum.

“I know maybe they’re with the county in the background – but obviously they’ll be predominantly with the club, and lads will enjoy getting back hurling and then you’re leading into your county.

“It will be a short enough few weeks together, which they can enjoy.”

The high point of O’Callaghan’s own lengthy career was Dublin’s five-game journey on consecutive weekends to a historic Leinster title in 2013, including replay wins over Wexford and Kilkenny and a swashbuckling demolition of Galway. There could be lessons here for a team that hits the ground running at just the right time this year.

As for the prospects of Dublin repeating the trick under Mattie Kenny, the St Mark’s man remarked: “They wouldn’t have had a great league campaign but, sure, no one would know anyone’s form coming into it.

“I think the quality is there - if they can get that out and produce on the day. But there’s an uncertainty there.”

O’Callaghan was dismissive of suggestions that Dublin were more intent on blooding players than accumulating points last spring. “I don’t think Dublin are in a position to be throwing away a league campaign,” he countered.