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Daly's call to quit the right one for him and for Dublin

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Anthony Daly celebrates Dublin's Leinster final victory over Galway in 2013 with Ryan O'Dwyer. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Anthony Daly celebrates Dublin's Leinster final victory over Galway in 2013 with Ryan O'Dwyer. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Anthony Daly celebrates Dublin's Leinster final victory over Galway in 2013 with Ryan O'Dwyer. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

When Anthony Daly didn't tender his resignation as Dublin hurling manager within a couple of weeks of their All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Tipperary at the end of July, it was taken as a sign that some part of him was gravitating towards another year in charge.

As time moved on into late August and Daly had not yet stood down, an expectation grew that be would be on the managerial grid with Dublin in 2015.

It was tempting and the heart would surely have propelled him towards such a decision. But in the end the head prevailed.

Daly has made a wise decision to "cut the cord" as he put it himself. He had, in all probability, taken Dublin as far as he could. It seems the right move for him and also the players.

The risks in continuing on, tempting as it was to push the boat out one more time, were just too great.

He has achieved much, with a first League title since 1939 and a first Leinster title since 1961 all secured on his watch.

More importantly, he gave Dublin hurling real credibility and conviction.

Think of the county in the years before his arrival in October 2008. Even the search for a new manager after Tommy Naughton had stepped down some months earlier had not been fruitful despite high-profile names like Nicky English and DJ Carey being linked to the position.

Daly was their knight in shining armour, the right man in the right place at the right time with his warm personality and humour, allied to his passionate enthusiasm, the perfect fit for a group in need of direction from a high-profile figure.

But last week, when Dublin chairman Andy Kettle had signalled how the role may require a three-year brief for the next man, Daly may have looked at a job specification that he no longer fitted.

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The team needs an overhaul, not a major one mind, but a series of small changes all the same

But the natural inclination of a manager who puts much stock on loyalty and who had already been there for six years, may have taken a short-term view when a medium-term view was probably required.

The biggest regret will be the All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Cork last year and how Ryan O'Dwyer's dismissal on a second yellow card impacted on them.

There will be regrets too that they didn't always have access to potentially the best players in the county.

Daly felt the full force of the football juggernaut in the city when Tomas Brady, a defensive pillar of some of his earlier teams, declared exclusive allegiance for the footballers when Jim Gavin took over as manager in 2012.

At club level some would say Brady is a footballer first but at inter-county level hurling would always offer him the better shot at mainstream action.

When Ciaran Kilkenny and Cormac Costello, among others, emerged from successful minor teams they were guided straight on to the juggernaut without being offered or seeking a second glance at what the hurlers had to offer.

He had some successes the other way and Conal Keaney's full commitment really pushed them on. The addition of Niall Corcoran and O'Dwyer gave them further options.

Daly never professed to have all the answers and opened his doors wide for support that worked.

Breakthrough

In 2013 he introduced his former Clare colleague Tony Griffin and former Tipperary player and coach Tommy Dunne to his set-up and both made significant impacts in their breakthrough year.

Two years earlier when they won the League, the respected Liam Moggan was on board as a performance coach.

Daly's greatest achievement arguably came in the week between the drawn and replayed Leinster semi-final with Kilkenny. The Cats have built a reputation on not being generous with second chances.

Their ability to close out extra-time - the 2009 and 2014 League finals against Tipperary being cases in point - and replays is renowned.

Daly's motivational powers in those six days had to be extraordinary to convince his players that they hadn't blown their prospect.

The players issued a statement yesterday through the Gaelic Players Association that was warm in its appraisal of their manager.

"While as a squad we were extremely disappointed with our exit from this summer's campaign, Anthony has left the game in the capital in a far stronger state than when he arrived and has transformed the profile of hurling in Dublin.

"His attitude and positive influence on our development was always top-class and his legacy, while embellished with titles, is also that he helped developed a real sense of self-belief in Dublin hurling which we know will serve the county well in the future."

For Daly, time on the margins will be short.


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