Sunday 26 January 2020

'Bite the bullet or clear off' - Ryan O'Dwyer sends clear message to absent Dublin hurlers

Ryan O'Dwyer of Dublin in action against Joey Holden of Kilkenny
Ryan O'Dwyer of Dublin in action against Joey Holden of Kilkenny
Ryan O'Dwyer Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Ryan O'Dwyer has jumped to the defence of Dublin hurling boss Ger Cunningham and believes those who have issues with him need to "bite the bullet" and do what's best for the team.

Cunningham's third year at the helm is expected to be rubber-stamped soon and while acknowledging that "some people have a problem with him", O'Dwyer called on absent players to either get on side or "clear off".

"If they can contribute then brilliant, I'd love them back but if they can't, if they take from it or are negative then I think we're better off without them," he said.

"There's been a lot of stuff said about management, about players. . . if they feel aggrieved bite the bullet and get on with it. Every player that wants to win for Dublin, wants to be there, with no personal agenda.

"The people that lined out for Dublin this year, want to win for Dublin. It's not a personal thing, 'oh I want an All-Star'.

"There's some people there that would rather play a good game than win the match, and I think everyone there this year wants to win - regardless of how they play, they want to win."

Speaking at the launch of the Applegreen Kilmacud Crokes All-Ireland Hurling Sevens, the Tipperary-born forward feels that Cunningham "has done an awful lot for Dublin hurling" - including blooding youngsters like Eoghan O'Donnell, Shane Barrett and Chris Bennett.

There has been much criticism of Cunningham from ex-players, with Conal Keaney and Michael Carton tweeting their disapproval after defeats to Kilkenny and Cork brought Dublin's season to a premature end on July 2, while Danny Sutcliffe's decision to opt out for 2016 surprised many.

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O'Dwyer didn't name names but he made it clear that if Dublin's best hurlers wanted to be present, the man in charge would not be an issue.

"If you're working a job and you've a problem with your manager, you get on with it and try harder," he said. "On an inter-county team, if there's a personal issue, you get the head down and get on with it, you give everything you can to the cause, because we're playing for Dublin hurling.

"We want Dublin hurling to succeed, it's not about 'oh you want Ryan O'Dwyer to play well', I'd much prefer if I play sh*t and Dublin win - and everyone should have that attitude and leave personal grievances aside, or they can clear off.

"It's the people in the dressing-room that matter and the people who want to succeed for Dublin hurling. Dublin hurling will be there in 20 or 30 years' time, those players won't. Their aim should be to leave it in a better place than when they came in. And some people don't have that attitude."

A hurling return looked out of the question for O'Dwyer (30) after a vicious late-night attack in Birmingham last October but he was delighted to defy the critics and hopes to come back even stronger in 2017.

"I still feel I have something to give, whether that's starting or coming in or just driving lads on."

Irish Independent

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