Cheerful Daly optimistic about Blues' preparations
REASONS to be cheerful were numerous for Anthony Daly on Tuesday night, though perhaps his chief source of contentment was the successful location of equilibrium somewhere between experimentation and competitiveness.
"The main objective was to get through it and face into the weekend and good tough match down in Gorey," Daly told the Herald after beating a strong UCD team by five points (2-20 to 2-15) to set up Sunday's meeting with Wexford (2.0).
"That's really what you want in terms of prep for the League. We'll be trying to win now as well and get another one the following week."
Still, Daly was understandably satisfied with Cuala pair Cian O'Callaghan and Colm Cronin, both minors in 2012 and each putting in useful shifts in their first competitive starts.
"You would be delighted with the two of them," the Clare man admitted. "They're really showing great maturity. Good signs. They back themselves. They're good lads. Obviously you can't expect too much.
"But that's what we need now. A few fresh faces to push. And I think these two boys will certainly push. You'd be happy with an awful lot that went on. Paul Winters came on a got a good score and Glenn Whelan came on and deserved a run.
"While you want to be winning these matches, you still have to try out a few. I don't believe in this policy of pelting in 15 young fellas because it's very hard for them too.
"I think the more you can play fellas like Colm Cronin with Ryan O'Dwyer beside him, that's when he will get a chance to thrive and hopefully, that's the way of it."
Similarly, there was another run out for Conor McCormack in the unfamiliar role of centre-half back.
"He's a very good hurler and he played in goals before so he has very good hands," reasoned Daly.
"We played him there against Na Piarsaigh and he was on Kevin Downes and he had a great game.
"We don't have Rushie (Liam Rushe) for the Walsh Cup and it's good for Conor too. He's very competitive. He's tough. Even if we have to put him back to the forwards, he will be way sharper for those outings."
On the injury front, Mark Schutte suffered a painful ankle injury on Tuesday evening and, speaking after the match, Daly insisted he was hopeful the Cuala attacker would be available for Dublin's League opener against Galway in Salthill on February 16.
'Dotsy' O'Callaghan was replaced at half-time due to hamstring complaint not thought to be serious, while Conal Keaney was nursing a quad strain but, likewise, should be fine for selection on Sunday.
Shane Durkin should, according to his manager, be "back in the picture," after withdrawing from the named team on Tuesday night having picked up a minor knock during a training session organised last Saturday night in lieu of the postponed game.
Similarly, Michael Carton is "near enough to come back," while Éamon Dillon is "not too far away," from the same point.