Cunningham staying positive amid storm
Dublin 1-19 Dubs Stars 1-14
It's been a stormy two years for Dublin boss Ger Cunningham with many former players expressing their dissatisfaction at the direction the senior hurlers are taking, but the Cork native has no intention of dwelling on the past.
Michael Carton, Peter Kelly and Conal Keaney have publicly questioned Cunningham's radical overhaul of personnel and the heat is on to deliver in his third year. Things got off to a decent start, however, as his experimental Dublin side eventually wore down a gallant Dubs Stars effort with a powerful finish.
With none of the Cuala contingent in action, Matthew McCaffrey, Sean O'Riain, Tom Connolly and Fergal Whitely impressed for Dublin while Crumlin youngster Alex Quinn was lively for the Dubs Stars.
Cunningham admits that a transition is taking place but he will not be going back over old ground as he gives youth its fling in competitive action over the coming weeks.
"This is the first day of 2017, we're looking forward," he said when asked if he pays attention to negative talk in the capital. "We've looked at guys the whole way through the club championship, we've seven from last year's minor panel.
"And the U-21s that got to the All-Ireland semi-final, they're the guys that impressed us when we looked at the club championship so they deserve their chance and we're going to give them every opportunity.
"Hopefully they have the right mindset to put their hand up to be considered. The word needs to go out there, we're looking at players, giving people a chance."
Dublin raced into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead but only scored twice more for the remainder of the half as the Dubs Stars powered ahead, with Quinn's opportunistic flick leaving them four ahead at the break, 1-8 to 0-7.
Dublin were level within eight minutes, however, with O'Riain netting and Cunningham's side pulled away in the home stretch with Connolly and Whitely on song.
Scorers - Dublin: S O'Riain 1-3 (1f), T Connolly 0-4, F Whitely and C Burke 0-3 each, C Conway and AJ Murphy 0-2 each, F McGibb and D Burke (f) 0-1 each. Dubs Stars: A Quinn 1-4, O O'Rorke 0-4 (2f), D Fox and J McManus 0-2 each, R Mahon and C Costelo 0-1 each.
Dublin - J Treacy; M Kavanagh, P Smith, M McCallion; F O'Riain Broinn, M McCaffrey, C McGabhann; C Conway, AJ Murphy; C Burke, S O'Riain, J Holland; C Maher, T Connolly, A Moore. Subs: F Whitely for Conway and E Skelly for B McLoughlin (both h-t), F McGibb for Burke (41), D Burke for Holland (47), B Quinn for Murphy (51), C Dowling for McGabhann (52), J McGuirk for Connolly (56).
Dubs Stars - B McLoughlin; N Corcoran, R Walsh, J Bellew; C Murphy, C Crummey, R Mahon; C Costello, D Fox; R O'Carroll, J McManus, F Heavey; K O'Reilly, O O'Rorke, A Quinn. Subs: E Sheehy for Walsh, R Hayes for Costello and G King for Holland (all h-t), S O'Dwyer for O'Reilly (46), P Crummey for McManus (49).
Ref - S Stack (Parnells).