Thursday 22 February 2018

Venue for Leinster opener is 'not an issue' for Dubs, insists O'Gara

Eoghan O'Gara. Photo: Sportsfile
Eoghan O'Gara. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Dublin are on the road again for their opening game in the Leinster SFC in 2017 but Eoghan O'Gara insists it won't matter in the slightest to Jim Gavin's three-in-a-row-chasing side.

The Dubs will start their provincial campaign against either Wexford in Wexford Park or Carlow in Portlaoise on June 3/4 but, after tasting championship action outside of Croke Park for the first time in ten years earlier this season, the Templeogue Synge St man insists they are happy to play anywhere.

"I don't think it's an issue, it's not something we think about," O'Gara (right) said, at the launch of the Top Oil Leinster Schools senior championships.

"People need something to write about and talk about and the fact that we play all our games (in Croke Park), people have to pick up on something.

"Some people see it as home advantage we play here all the time. We can only do what we are told to do and play where we are meant to play and get on with it.

"And if we play all our games outside Croke Park that's something we'd enjoy as well."

Dublin's clash with Laois in Nowlan Park was a significant personal milestone for O'Gara who saw championship action for the first time since 2014 after a serious knee injury but he admits to some frustration at how the year played out for him personally.

"Coming back from a big injury like that, mentally you tend not to commit to putting your knee or leg into things.

"There's no stand-out moment where you think, 'I got through that I'm back', it's a gradual thing and it takes a while to get up to the pace of it again.

"I had a diary in terms of return to play and games that I saw myself being available for and I was knocked back once or twice by little niggles when I felt I was right. Then I had a hamstring and one or two other things and I was told that was normal enough as your body gets used to it but that was frustrating.

"And then I suppose I wanted to be available for (the first game of the) championship and get a starting jersey and it didn't pan out that way. Then you are just trying to get yourself as best you can and be realistic that you are probably going to be coming in from the line and just to be ready then."

O'Gara also insisted that his clubmate Denis Bastick has more to give as he mulls over his future this winter.

"I'd say he is still thinking about it I don't think he has made a decision on it. It would be great to have him around, he is the elder man of the team and is a cool head in the changing room and on the pitch and if we were to keep him there'd be a lot of happy people in the changing room."

"There's probably a bit of a gap from Denis down to the next group which I'm in or not too far off. I haven't thought about it, it's the kind of thing that will become clear before pre-season."

Irish Independent

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