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Ger: Dubs have tools to dig out survival

SUNDAY evening and Ger Ryan is on his way to St Anne's Park for a challenge match.

He's been listening to the wireless in the car. Anthony Daly has been on.

"I agree with Anthony Daly. The relegation play-off against Galway will be like a championship game.

"It's knockout, so let's just go for it," says Ger.

And the former Dublin 'keeper feels the Blues have the tools to remain on the top floor. "It will be a tough one, but I think we are capable of winning it.

"It's vital that we stay in Division 1A. That's crucial for Dublin's development.

"We have made fantastic progress. We are in the best division, so let's make sure we stay there.

"I think this Dublin side is in a good place. We have been unlucky in the league. We were certainly unfortunate against Cork and Kilkenny.

"People said we were somewhat lucky against Tipperary, but I don't agree. I feel we were a bit unlucky in that game, missing a few chances and that.

"Overall, the performances have been impressive. It's just a matter of getting things right on the day. We just need to string everything together to make it happen."

Ger was with the Dubs for four years. He minded the Craobh Chiarain net for many seasons.

The Craobh blood will always flow through the veins. He's a decorated championship and league winner there. He has also served the Donnycarney club as a senior hurling selector. But now he has taken over as manager of the St Brigid's senior hurlers. They were playing Raheny last Sunday evening.

"The championship is fast approaching, so we just want to keep things ticking over. We have a fine set-up there. Timmy O'Mahony is the director of hurling."

Ger has an accomplished number one at Russell Park. "Alan Nolan is up there with the best of them.

"He's pushing Gary Maguire in the Dublin set-up, and that's what you want. The standards of goalkeeping have gone up so much from when I was playing.

"Look at Gary getting the All-Star last year. That was brilliant. Gary is one of the best 'keepers in the country."

Ger insists that the overall level in Dublin hurling has also risen dramatically.

"The likes of Ballinteer and St Jude's have made terrific strides.

"There are no easy matches in Dublin senior hurling anymore, and that's a positive thing for the game in the county.

"Clubs know they have to train and prepare as well as they can for games. All matches can be tight. You have to battle.

"It's a great challenge for me at St Brigid's. They have been there or thereabouts. They are a tough team to beat.

"We have excellent talent and the lads train hard and all of that. Our aim will be to find consistency."

Back in 2004, Ger was in the Craobh goal as they defeated Brigid's in the Dublin Senior Championship final in Parnell Park. Connie Ring hit nine points that afternoon, all from the placed ball.

Alan Nolan was sub 'keeper to Willie Bourke, now the King of Fingal. Last term, Brigid's reached the championship semi-final.

There's no doubting their potential and ambition. And, likewise, their new boss judges that Dalo's Dubs are not all that far away from being the finished article.

"You have to say that the likes of Tomas Brady, Stephen Hiney and Conal Keaney have been badly missed.

"But, in fairness, the young fellas that have come in have done well. David Treacy has come back, Danny Sutcliffe has been in fabulous form and I think Alan McCrabbe is also doing nicely.

"So when the injured lads return, Dublin will be a team to be reckoned with. And, in the meantime, I'd feel that we are good enough to beat Galway. As I say, it won't be easy, but this Dublin team has come on so much, and it's so important to remain in Division 1A."