Tuesday 21 November 2017

O'Dwyer 'sick of people saying it's only the league' ahead of Rebels rematch

Dublin's Ryan O'Dwyer
Dublin's Ryan O'Dwyer
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Ryan O'Dwyer made his seasonal comeback for Dublin later than usual this year.

When Ger Cunningham came in, he afforded the Tipperary native a longer break given Kilmacud Crokes' later-than-usual finish to their campaign after their county final success.

And when he finally reappeared, it didn't make for a triumphant return.

Cork were in town that evening and O'Dwyer started that game but he didn't come back out for the second half.

At that stage Dublin had already conceded 21 points on their way to a comprehensive defeat.

And ahead of Sunday's league semi-final against the same opposition, O'Dwyer (below) insists last month's game will be of little significance when the two teams clash at Nowlan Park on Sunday.

"It was a strange game and before the game, we felt we were ready for it," O'Dwyer recalled at a GAA promotional event for league semi-finals where it was announced that tickets bought in advance would cost €15.

"We were fresh and the training had been great and we just went out and they got a run on us.

"It was one of those days when whatever way the ball bounced, it was bouncing into a Cork hand for the first half anyway."

Dublin improved in the second half and the teams managed 55 scores between them, with 39 of those coming from play. O'Dwyer expects another open affair this time around.

"You've two teams that just want to go out and hurl.

Cork are all fantastic hurlers and they just want to go out and hurl, they don't want to drag you down to a certain level or defend. It's all-out hurling.

"There's so many natural hurlers on the Cork team and it's the same with Dublin, we just want to go out and play.

"When you have two teams like that, there'll be a lot of scoring chances and there was in that game for Cork anyway."

O'Dwyer was part of the Dublin side that made a significant breakthrough in 2011 and claimed the league title for Dublin for the first time since 1946.

"And even though they have gone on to claim the Leinster Championship since then, he insists that hasn't dulled their desire for the secondary competition.


"I think you want to win every single game that you go out and play in.

"It's just the competitive nature of the game. I think if you lose that competitiveness, there's no point in playing the game really.

"So I think both teams, regardless of championship down the line, or it being 'only the league'...

"I'm sick of people saying this is only the league. In 2011, that was a massive thing for us and it still is a massive thing for us.

"So I think this weekend all four teams will want to go out and win and then in two weeks' time win again, because the league is a massive thing."

Dublin's clash with Cork is set to throw in at 2.0 and open the action at Nowlan Park, while Tipperary take on Waterford at 4.0 with the winners to face off a fortnight later.

Both semi-finals will be televised live on TG4.

Irish Independent

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