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Dublin are way ahead of Offaly – Regan

FORMER Offaly All-Ireland winner Daithi Regan reckons Dublin are "way ahead," of the Faithful County at the minute, and says where once, "you would go up to Parnell Park and you would be disappointed if you didn't win a National Hurling League game ... if Offaly go up on Saturday night and beat Dublin ... although it is the first game of the year, it's quite possible that that will be the biggest result of their year."

"There would still be a sort of snobbish element with some people in Offaly that no matter what, whenever we play Dublin we still have better hurlers," Regan continues.

"I would have the opposite view to that. I think that Dublin have way passed us out and it certainly isn't a temporary thing. Dublin are way ahead of us at the moment and way ahead of Wexford."

The former Birr star, now a noted hurling pundit, reckons despite their regression in 2012, Dublin "will win an All-Ireland within the next five to ten years," whereas his own county are "as far removed from that as we have been in the last ten".

Neither of tomorrow's protagonists, according to Regan, will win a provincial or All-Ireland title this season but for Offaly, he stresses, promotion is absolutely paramount to arresting the slide of recent seasons.

"If we in Offaly are to go places, we need Division 1(A) hurling. And to get that, we need to go to Parnell Park and beat Dublin. That's progress. But I don't see them beating Dublin, to be honest.

"Priority has to be Division 1 hurling. In the back door system, we have failed abysmally over the years, beside of course 1998. But we're not going to win a provincial title so Division 1 hurling and a good run to get to an All-Ireland quarter-final would be considered a very progressive year in Offaly."

Hindering Dublin's provincial push this season is their inability to score goals against the top teams, Regan says, a problem which afflicted them well before Anthony Daly's time but has yet to be corrected under his watch.

"The biggest problem is; the way he has set them up, they don't score goals. They leave two guys inside and play with a kind of spare midfielder but you will never scores goals when the opposition play with their spare defender in there," he explains.

"Dublin will not win a provincial title or an All-Ireland title – and haven't a notion of winning one – unless they hit two or three goals on the really big day when there is a major trophy at stake. And they're no nearer to doing that than they were when Anthony Daly came in, even though I understand what he's coming from in trying to make them hard to beat."