Friday 23 February 2018

'Dublin have been let down by players who left panel' - Sheedy blames missing stars as Cunningham comes out fighting

Dublin boss Ger Cunningham watches on against Galway and (inset) Liam Sheedy
Dublin boss Ger Cunningham watches on against Galway and (inset) Liam Sheedy
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Former Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy has lambasted Dublin's absent hurlers and suggested they have let their county down following the capital's Leinster Championship quarter-final hammering by Galway today.

Many high-profile Dublin hurlers have left Ger Cunningham's panel and, as pointed out by Sheedy on RTE after Galway's 2-28 to 1-17 victory, only two players who played against Tipperary in the 2014 All Ireland quarter-final were involved with the Dubs today.

Michael Carton is one former Dublin hurler who spoke out against the Cunningham regime in the capital.

"For me, it was a toxic environment, there was no clarity, people weren't getting on and it just wasn't a nice place to be," Carton told Off The Ball the O'Toole's man told Newstalk's Off The Ball this evening last November.

"It just wasn't a nice atmosphere. You could see tension within the management team and that's going to filter down the ranks.

"If players are seeing that…there are going to be questions within the panel straight away and that's the last thing you want."

But Sheedy pointed the finger of blame firmly at the missing players in his post-match analysis today.

"There has been a massive investment into Dublin hurling over the last number of years," said Sheedy.

There was a clear message to try and get the capital competitive in hurling but it is a startling statistic to say the team that took the pitch against Tipperary in the All Ireland quarter final in 2014, two of that starting 15 (were involved today).

"No team can manage that level of turnover and, to me, they have been let down by the good get a 10-year window when you can go out and represent your county. These players that are good enough to be out there aren't taking their chance and I am just flabbergasted by that really."   

Cunningham was forthright when he was asked if he was finding it difficult to get the best players in the Dublinj to come out and play under him.

"The best players that we have available in Dublin are playing today so that's the reality of it," said Cunningham.

"These are the 35 players that are on the Dublin senior hurling panel for 2017. That's all I am concerned with."

Dublin, who had Cian O'Callaghan sent off for two yellow cards in the second half, were outclassed by a vibrant Galway outfit and while Cunningham was in absolutely no doubt Galway was by far the superior team, he did question some of the refereeing decisions.

"It's a huge score to concede, very disappointing from our point of view considering the position we put ourselves into to be two or three points down at half time.

"I thought we were in a good position to push on in the second half. In the first 10 minutes of the second half again we conceded early scores and we were struggling to get back into the game and then obviously the sending off had a huge bearing and we were struggling from then on.

"To me, looking at it from 60/70 yards away, I didn't see the second one, but how could that be a sending off? He said he asked the referee after and he said it was for a hand trip. I haven't seen it, I would like to see it back again.

"Again, I am not sure what the first yellow card was for. Normally I am not one to criticise referees but I thought looking at it today - the amount of times we were held up in the tackle, they were high tackles and I think we didn't get a fair crack of the whip.

"But at the end of the day I am not sure if it would have made a big difference to the scoreline, we were beaten by a better team in Galway."

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