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Showcase for the revolution

LAST year it was all about the Daly News. Dublin's new hurling messiah wore a blue and white woolly hat in Kilbarrack.

Even the RTé cameras were there to record the fashion. A large crowd arrived at Naomh Barróg, and Fingallians are hoping for more of the same tomorrow.

The audience will echo the sentiment that it was a good year for Dublin hurling. All agree it's very much a work in progress.

No bold statements ever come from the lips of Anthony Daly and his colleagues. They are too wise for that.

You'll never get 'You ain't seen nothing yet'. Dublin selector Ciarán Hetherton speaks for all when he declares "We haven't done anything yet."

Still, the Blues were just a breath away from the All-Ireland semi-final. At journey's end that defeat by Limerick was the biggest regret of all.


Admiring the small ball revolution was Liam Hogan, a man who began a revolution of his own up on the Firhouse Road.

Ballyboden St Enda's had come close to their first county senior hurling championship. There was heartbreak along that road.

But it was Liam who led them to paradise and now they are members of the exclusive three-in-a-row club.

They have packed many years of hard experience into the parcel you see today. They have become the Kilkenny of Dublin hurling.

The team to beat -- definitely. And like Brian Cody, Liam holds some firm views on how best to serve the craft.

The 'Boden Boys have served him well. They include the Slaney native, Malachy Travers, the captain of the Star-Ship Enterprise.

Malachy's mobility and commitment around the field sum up the deep desire that there is at Páirc Uí Mhurchú.

Dublin selector Vincent Teehan knows all about that.

He's a leading lieutenant to both Hogan and Daly.

David Sweeney was so often the heartbeat of the side. Anthony Daly is a fan, and a big one.

His brother, Tim, is named among the Dublin reserves. He too had a prosperous season. All eyes will be on Ryanner. Shaney Boy's Return has grabbed the headlines.

It's a big story for the small ball. Ryan is such an accomplished athlete.

If it wasn't for Gaelic games, he'd be a brilliant 1,500m man. Imagine the spurt off the last bend.

His presence will add to the crowd at Fingallians. Shane's speed and industry will be welcomed by Daly and Co.

He's picked a solid looking Dublin side. Tomás Brady, Stephen Hiney and Ronan Fallon won't be giving away the last of the mince pies.

And the Dubs Stars defence will have to be at their sharpest to curb the full-forward trio of David O'Callaghan, David Treacy and Peadar Carton.

Joey Boland and Simon Lambert will toil well at midfield and Ryan will have trusty lieutenants alongside him on the half-forward line, David Curtin and John Kelly.

The good thing for Daly and company is the dash of youth on the Dubs Stars selection. Take the full-forward line -- Kevin O'Loughlin, Paul Ryan and Kevin Warren.

That's a talented trio that offer much promise. Ryan is an outstanding forward.


Off the tee, he didn't miss much in Boden's business end of the season exploits. And he's also so classy in the loose.

Warren hit some classical scores in Craobh's campaign. Wise judges say his point in the county final was the best of the day.

O'Loughlin, in a disappointing year for Crokes, still proved his calibre. He's becoming a genuine cultured craftsman. Then you have Andrew Morris, who had some cracking games for O'Toole's. He's not afraid to don the boiler-suit.

Liam Rushe already has his name on Broadway. One of the most appealing features of his play is his fielding ability. Liam is supreme under the dropping ball.

He'll often drift far from goal and, amid the timber, pluck the sliotar from the clouds with that celebrated claw.

The Dubs Stars have a solid look about them. A resolute defence watching over Gary Maguire's hut. There's also an All-Star in the house. It's been a while. Nice to see you to see you, nice.

Alan McCrabbe's Capital D achievement was just the tonic the growing family that is the Friends of Dublin Hurling needed.

A worthy game at Fingallians would do just fine to sweep away January's sting.

And it would show all the President's men that Dublin hurling is more determined than ever to keep on climbing the stairs.

VERDICT: Dubs Stars


Dublin v Dubs Stars

(Tomorrow, Lawless Memorial Park, Swords, 2.0)