Wednesday 21 February 2018

Dunne and Daly sharpen claws

Dublin and Wexford managers will try to glean positives from thrilling draw ahead of mouth-watering rematch

Conal Keaney is certainly an asset for Dublin but what is his best position?
Conal Keaney is certainly an asset for Dublin but what is his best position?
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

RIVAL managers Liam Dunne of Wexford and Dublin's Anthony Daly have had a hectic week reviewing last Sunday's drawn game and preparing their teams for tonight's all-ticket replay at Parnell Park.

The Donnycarney venue should be bursting at the seams with supporters eager to see chapter two of this Leinster SHC quarter-final clash.

For the managers and players it's all about working to build on the positive elements and reduce the negatives from the previous match in a short time-frame. From a neutral point of view, there are a number of lessons learned from last Sunday's encounter.

1 WEXFORD DIDN'T GET THE CREDIT THEY DESERVED

Much of the comment by pundits in all media focused on the Dubs' defects rather than praising the Wexford performance.

The big quality that Liam Dunne has grafted into the Slaneysiders outfit is a resilience that saw them through the periods of Dublin supremacy and kept them fighting all the way to the finish.

Dunne is laying the foundations for an improved Wexford and they will benefit from this extra game. They will certainly travel to Parnell Park believing they can win.

2 DUBLIN'S CONFIDENCE SHAKY

We keep waiting for the Dubs to kick on and show that 2012 was a blip, but it hasn't happened yet this year in the games that count.

They scraped through the Division 1B final, they buckled against Tipp in the league semis and looked rattled when Wexford put it up to them last Sunday.

It is true to say their forwards missed some relatively easy opportunities, but as Wexford refused to bow the knee, the pressure mounted on the Blues forwards and the anxiety levels increased.

3 DUNNE'S BASIS FOR NAMING WEXFORD'S 'DUMMY TEAM'

There is no doubt that Liam Dunne set out to keep Dublin guessing as much as possible, hence his multi-changed starting 15 from the one published in the match programme.

He might have done that anyway, but it was interesting to hear Dunne say one of the reasons he did his best to sow seeds of confusion in the opposition camp.

The Wexford boss was concerned about the depth of inside knowledge Dublin had about his players because the Wexford video analyst joined forces with Anthony Daly's back-room team earlier in the year.

4 THERE'S STILL A QUESTION ABOUT KEANEY'S BEST ROLE

Conal Keaney is an asset to Dublin hurling, but the manager hasn't settled on his best role. Ironically one former Dubs boss, Humphrey Kelleher, believes Keaney is most effective at centre-back; another ex-manager, Michael O'Grady, says he should be in the forwards. Anthony Daly has to sort that one out and same goes for his deployment of Liam Rushe. On Thursday night he named Rushe at centre-half back and Keaney at right-half forward. We await with interest to see if they start in those positions.

5 CHIN'S AVAILABILITY IS A BIG BOOST FOR WEXFORD

Only 20 years of age, the dual player made a big impression last Sunday when he was brought on as a 28th-minute sub.

His physical prowess and pace troubled the Dublin defence and now that he has had a week clear of football duties, Lee Chin and Wexford will benefit from his single-minded focus on the replay.

Chin is named at midfield. Mind you, given Liam Dunne's propensity for selling dummies to the opposition and the public, perhaps he will spring a real surprise and keep Chin on the bench and save him for an impact-sub role once again.

6 WHY DUBLIN ARE SLIGHT FAVOURITES TO WIN

Home advantage is a help, but whatever combination of forwards Daly puts out tonight, he has to expect a better return on the scoreboard. On Sunday, starting forwards Ryan O'Dwyer, Dotsy O'Callaghan and David Treacy failed to register any score, while Conor McCormack got only one point.

Credit is due to the Wexford defensive effort for diluting the Dublin forward threat. In fairness to O'Dwyer, he was hampered by having to leave the pitch three times for treatment due to a recurring blood flow from a facial wound, but overall it was a poor show up front. If their full-back line can tighten up on the Wexford front men, surely the Dublin forwards won't be as wasteful this time.

Irish Independent

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