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Kenny to factor in club form ahead of Dublin hurlers' 'quick turn-around'


Dublin hurling manager Mattie Kenny. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Dublin hurling manager Mattie Kenny. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Dublin hurling manager Mattie Kenny. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Mattie Kenny will be "keeping a close eye" on the form of both his Dublin squad members and any possible future additions that might make themselves known over the course of the looming county hurling championship.

The Dublin SHC is among the first of the club championships to begin, with eight games spread across seven venues this weekend in the 'A' competition.

As Kenny, now into his second season as Dubs boss notes, Sunday's live TG4 clash between Kilmacud Crokes and Ballyboden St Enda's is "the pick of the round one matches," the two having played out an epic two-game final as recently as 2018.

But the simple fact that competitive hurling returns for the first time since mid-March is sufficient reason to be cheerful just now.

"Speaking to some of the players, they are really happy to be back playing matches," Kenny explained, "most of the clubs have had two or three challenge games in the last couple of weeks and now they have a number of competitive championship games to look forward to. Overall, these matches will bring players on massively which, in the long run, is good for both club and county."

There is a common perception that inter-county managers are actively dreading the next couple of months.

Croke Park's hardened stance on the sanctity of the club window means a complete cut-off for county training. There are also genuine and understandable fears about a deluge of injuries after such a long period of match-specific inactivity.

It means that many will be on tenterhooks between now and September 12, when county training can officially recommence.

As Kenny points out, however, these are simply the vagaries of this most unique of GAA seasons.

He is fully aware of the potential perils of players emerging from sustained inaction being exposed to a rapid series of matches, particularly those who will play both hurling and football. But for the former Cuala boss, the positives of the club restart greatly overshadow any potential worries.

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As he notes, there will be a sharp turn-around between the end of the competition on the weekend of September 12/13 and the resumption of training that same weekend.

This season presents a unique opportunity for county teams to ride the form and momentum of their high-performing club players into the race for Liam MacCarthy.

"We'll be keeping an eye on players' form in these club matches," Kenny stressed, "and it's important that lads are playing well in the coming months with their clubs, as it will be a quick enough turn-around to the inter-county championships."

It seems like a different season entirely now but Dublin's 2020 league campaign ended on a dull note in Ennis on March 1. That result came a week after a bizarre defeat to Wexford in Croke Park.

Three players, Shaun Murphy, Conor McDonald and Eoghan O'Donnell, were sent off that night while no fewer than 50 frees were awarded by referee Johnny Murphy, who also brandished 13 yellow cards. Worse still was a broken collarbone suffered by Chris Crummey.

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