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Shay: We can get job done


Eamon Dillon celebrates his late goal against Wexford. Picture: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Eamon Dillon celebrates his late goal against Wexford. Picture: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Shay Boland

Shay Boland


Eamon Dillon celebrates his late goal against Wexford. Picture: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

DUBLIN'S U21 provincial campaign begins later this evening when they encounter Carlow in their Leinster U21 Hurling Championship quarter-final at Parnell Park (7.30).

Having reached successive All-Ireland minor finals over the past two years, the Dubs will be considered raging hot favourites to progress to a semi-final meeting with Wexford later in the month.

However, preparations have not been ideal, given the absence of key personnel from training due to senior hurling and football commitments, leaving manager Shay Boland tentatively optimistic when assessing his side's chances.

"I suppose things have gone as well as could be expected and I've been encouraged by what I've seen over the past while.

"Having said that, it's very difficult to create a team ethic when there are lads missing for large chunks of training and Carlow will definitely have an advantage over us in those terms," he said.

The return of both Cormac Costello and Ciarán Kilkenny was a welcome boost to Boland but that positive was more than offset by the absence of eight panellists due to Leaving Certificate commitments.

Those eight include the Cuala duo of Cian O'Callaghan and Colm Cronin, with the former having captained Dublin in their run to the All-Ireland Minor Hurling final last year while others to miss out this evening include Robert Murphy, Oisín O'Rorke, Sean McClelland and Paul Winters.

With Boland's senior panellists, most notably Danny Sutcliffe and Eamonn Dillon, complicating the issue further with regard to their SHC replay date with Wexford next Saturday, it is fair to say that Dublin will enter tonight's fixture with a fair degree of uncertainty, both in personnel and team formation.

That lack of familiarity is not something that will unduly concern Boland, who is optimistic that the players he has at his disposal have sufficient ability and experience to get the job done.

"Naturally, I'm well aware of the merits of the 2011 and 2012 minor teams but I've been impressed by what I've seen from the 2010 crop and there's a talented core of players there.

"Of course, Danny and Eamonn are both with the senior panel but the likes of Sean Moran, Emmet McKenna and Conor Murphy are all very good players and playing at a very high level while Ciarán Kilkenny and Cormac Costello are, of course, two others that we're happy to have available.



"We played Galway in a challenge match last Monday night and it was encouraging to see some players nail down their starting places but as I've said previously, it hasn't been ideal in terms of access and availability of players," said the St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh clubman.

Given Dublin's disappointing and surprising exit to Laois at the corresponding stage last year, the issue of complacency is unlikely to surface, especially against a side that features a wealth of senior inter-county experience.

Dublin's struggles in a Leinster MHC tie in Dr Cullen Park three years ago reflect the ability prevalent in Carlow's panel and Boland expects a similarly tricky assignment for his charges this evening.

"Given that it's their first game in the championship, it is difficult to know too much about them but I recall them giving Dublin a huge scare at minor level back in 2010 and having so many players training with their senior panel can only help their development.

"They are always a sticky opponent and we just need to go out and play to our potential and see if that is enough to get us over the line.

"We certainly won't underestimate them," he concluded.