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Dubs to profit from Déise raid

Blues have wherewithal to win at Walsh Park

THERE was a time, not so very long ago, when a win like Dublin's against Clare last time out would have been celebrated like a moon landing.

There's been enough success since to desensitise even the most ardent Dublin hurling follower from such reaction and you'd have to talk for a long time to any of the current players to convince them that any game before the summer is 'make or break' or 'do or die' or even 'vital'.

Yes, they'd prefer to shoo off relegation and true, another League title would begin the year nicely but having feasted on a fat man's banquet last year by beating Kilkenny and then winning Leinster in the one season, they have larger fish to fry.

Mostly, there was a sense of mild relief after the victory over Clare, purely on the reasoning that Dublin proved a few points that needed proving.

Firstly, their form of 2013 hadn't evaporated completely and was, in cases of emergency, easily locatable.

Secondly, their big players all showed the type of leadership necessary for any and all scraps (because already, it seems, the majority of matches played out between hurling 'haves' will be exactly that) which fall their way this year and from that, the rest will follow.

Take Colm Cronin, who had a fine game against Clare and scored 1-1 but never came under undue pressure to do anything remarkable, mainly because Liam Rushe, Conal Keaney, Peter Kelly, Danny Sutcliffe and Shane Durkin were taking care of that end of things.

Sutcliffe is out for tomorrow's trip to Waterford but the return of Joey Boland hardly softens Dublin any.

Jack Doughan replaces Simon Timlin at corner-back, perhaps the only part of the team where Anthony Daly looks a little scantily clad at present.

Speaking of returns, Alan McCrabbe's to the starting Dublin XV after a year's leave could only have been classed as a complete success.

Daly pointed out how, as a Craobh Chiaráin man, Parnell Park is like home for McCrabbe but if he can carry his form onto the road now, the 2009 All Star brings something a little different to the Dublin attack.

Of the three Division 1A matches being played tomorrow, Dublin look best-placed to end the run of all six home teams thus far winning the six matches played in the League.

ADVANTAGE

Yet so prevailing a force is home advantage, they're outsiders here.

Partly, that's to do with Waterford's impressive win over Galway and the fact that were it not for Stephen O'Keeffe's blunder in round one, the Déise would have beaten Tipperary.

It hasn't always been the most welcoming of grounds for Dublin but there's so much experience in the team that if they can maintain their form this past fortnight, they should sneak it.

ODDS: Waterford 4/6, Draw 10/1, Dublin 6/4

VERDICT: Dublin


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