Monday 24 June 2019

Daly stands on brink of further capital success with Crokes

Kilmacud connection: Former Clare captain Anthony Daly says he has always an affinity with the Stillorgan area. Photo: Sportsfile
Kilmacud connection: Former Clare captain Anthony Daly says he has always an affinity with the Stillorgan area. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

To those on the outside, Anthony Daly's decision to venture into club management and take the reins with Kilmacud Crokes might have been seen as somewhat left-field.

Making a 500km round-trip from his base in Clarecastle to Stillorgan through Dublin's rush-hour traffic is no easy task but part of the former Dubs boss will always remain in the capital, particularly on the south side.

Numerous medal presentations in Crokes down through the years - including their triumphant 2012 SHC-winning squad - as well as the Dublin launch of his autobiography in their clubhouse left him with an "affinity" to the area.

Kilmacud clubmen Richie Stakelum and Chris Thompson also worked under him with the Dubs so the call last October to take the helm wasn't a major shock, but initial thoughts were of the "long haul".

His "heart-strings were pulled" by Stakelum and Thompson so he decided to "give it a lash" and succeed former Clare team-mate Ollie Baker. And after toppling back-to-back All-Ireland champions Cuala, they stand on the brink of their first Dublin success since 2014.

Ballyboden-St Enda's stand in their way and with Daly's name expected to be in the hat for the vacant Dublin hurling job, Sunday's decider could be an audition for a second coming.

Daly clearly has a bond with the county and one of those players who served him well during his term, veteran attacker Conal Keaney, will stand in the opposition corner.

Regardless of who takes the reins with the Dubs (Mattie Kenny and Anthony Cunningham are also linked), Daly doesn't see Keaney being disposed of for 2019 after the 36-year-old made a successful return to the county fold this year.

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"I'd imagine whoever will be coming in won't be throwing the baby out with the bath water, Keaney was very good, possibly him going off against Kilkenny tilted things against them," Daly said.

"To come back from that motorcycle accident and to be where he is now from 2011 is some dedication isn't it? What a leader like. No coincidence him coming back (to hurling) led to (Dublin's success winning league and Leinster titles).

"The night before the All-Ireland football final in 2011 I just gave him a text and said, 'I'm thinking of you tonight, kid'. They went on to win and it had to be tinged. Then, it was great that 'Boden got that club football All-Ireland, I hope they don't get another hurling championship!"

With Liam Sheedy returning for a second stint with Tipperary - as well as James Horan resurfacing with the Mayo footballers - rumours are in overdrive about Daly's future.

While coy on his links to the post, Clare's two-time All-Ireland-winning captain is quick to point out the differences between football and hurling in the capital while also believing that there is huge potential there.

"It's a massively different proposition than Dublin football. There's been great work at underage and there's probably less of the Cormac Costellos and the Ciaran Kilkennys," he said.

"More lads coming out of minor and knowing what they want straight away. We know how good a hurler Con O'Callaghan is and he's not available so there's a massive difference between Dublin football and hurling.

"It's impossible to compare and yet Dublin have every chance, if things fall right and are done right, whoever is there next year they are every bit good enough to get into Leinster's top three, who knows after that."

Irish Independent

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