Sport Hurling

Sunday 19 November 2017

Keaney huge blow for Banner clash -- Daly

Dublin manager Anthony Daly during the closing stages of the game. Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Semi-Final, Dublin v Kilkenny, O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin manager Anthony Daly during the closing stages of the game. Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Semi-Final, Dublin v Kilkenny, O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Photo: Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

DUBLIN manager Anthony Daly has admitted that Conal Keaney is almost certain to miss Saturday's crunch All-Ireland senior hurling qualifier against Clare.

Daly revealed the hamstring injury Keaney sustained during the Leinster semi-final mauling by Kilkenny has been slow to respond to treatment.

A sub's role is the best the powerful Ballyboden St Enda's clubman can hope for, according to Daly, who believes that the forward's early exit against the Cats affected other Dublin players.

Keaney was forced off with 15 minutes on the clock and the floodgates opened shortly after as TJ Reid netted Kilkenny's opening goal.

Daly said: "The two big doubts are Conal and Conor McCormack -- who picked up a dead leg on Saturday. Conal is probably out, but we'll give him as long as we can. Conor couldn't train last night and it's day by day with him really. Paul Schutte's still not right either.

"We thought that he might be back but he's just not ready. But Joey Boland and Ryan O'Dwyer have both declared themselves fit. They haven't as much done as some of the lads but they were back on Saturday and again last night (Tuesday)."

Daly added: "Some of the lads spoke about seeing Conal going off (against Kilkenny) -- at a stage when we were going fairly well.

"Having spoken to them, some of them felt it did affect them a bit. If he's available for even 10 minutes, we'll slot him into the 26. It would be a shame to see his championship end on Saturday.

"I hope the boys respect that and there's a duty of care on their behalf to some of the lads that have given everything to get back to fitness."

Daly admitted again that some of Dublin's hurling against Kilkenny was "incredibly poor", but he's expecting a big response against his native county.

Clare's 1995 and 1997 All-Ireland-winning captain said: "We have to find some level of performance -- we just didn't perform against Kilkenny.

"I wouldn't take it off them but some of the hurling we produced was incredibly poor. All of us, as a man, have to take responsibility for that.

forces

"That's the way we feel as a group from one to 33. Management and back-room staff too feel responsible to the huge Dublin public that came down to support us. We're not expecting that kind of crowd in Ennis with the journey down and the fact that the Feile is in Dublin as well.

"We don't know if we're good enough to beat Clare but we're better than we looked for long periods against Kilkenny. And Clare would appear to have the momentum -- they left the Waterford game after them, due maybe to a little bit of inexperience.

"But from what I'm feeling and hearing on the ground, people are happy that the team is moving in the right direction. But we might have a point to prove and which is the stronger of the two forces, we'll know on Saturday."

Daly added it came as no surprise when the qualifier draw pitted Dublin and Davy Fitzgerald's Clare together.

He smiled: "Myself and Davy would always send each other a text -- best of luck, well done or hard luck. There will be no animosity whatsoever -- I get on well with those lads. (Clare county board secretary) Pat Fitzgerald, Davy Fitz, (selector) Louis Mulqueen -- I know those lads well, as well as the grounds-people at Cusack Park.

"I was going in and out of there for 20 years, since I was a Clare minor in 1987.

"Look, it's down to 70 minutes of hurling -- let's see who comes out on top."

Irish Independent

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