A GENTLE enough start to the year for Anthony Daly and his Dublin hurlers last Saturday and, as another season beckons, there is no better time to put your resolutions and plans into practice than January 1.
It was the annual Dublin Bus/Evening Herald Dubs Stars spectacular which took place on the St Brigid's all-weather surface at Russell Park. Conditions were kind and a decent attendance saw some tidy pockets of hurling.
Dublin's newest addition, Ryan O'Dwyer, was in a hurry to make his mark -- a point after 20 seconds. The ex-Tipperary player, operating at centre half-forward, looks the business -- a sharp piece of work in the January 'transfer window' from Daly.
The Dublin chief has been tracking his stud-marks for quite some time. "I saw him develop as a minor and U-21. He's a hardy boy alright," said Daly. O'Dwyer had to be on the toes to outwit his direct marker, Wexford's Stephen Nolan.
Dublin's other O'Dwyer, Declan, also made a favourable impression. The Olaf's man struck three tidy points and did a lot more besides.
Daly picked out Declan O'Dwyer for special mention and he was happy with the day's work. Topping the bill was Niall McMorrow, who took the scoring honours after coming on early for the injured Shane Ryan.
McMorrow's darting pace at top of the left caused a basket of problems. He knocked in his first goal in the 15th minute and his second on 48 minutes.
McMorrow helped Dublin to the Leinster U-21 championship crown and Ballyboden St Enda's to the Dublin four-in-a-row last term.
Dublin led from pillar to post. They were ahead by 1-12 to 1-5 at the turn. However, the Dubs Stars turned up the volume in the second period. Shane Durkin, Conor McCormack, Daire Plunkett and Paul Ryan were principal figures in the renaissance. McCormack's goal came in the first half following good play from Ryan.
It was Durkin who got their second, five minutes from time, dashing in to meet the sliotar sweetly with stealth and precision timing. Plunkett, of the host club, had an excellent game, while McCormack's industry also earned the applause.
"It's all about strength in depth and hopefully we can keep on increasing that," said Daly.
SCORERS -- Dublin: N McMorrow 2-3, A McCrabbe (0-1f), D O'Dwyer 0-3 each, P Kelly, R O'Dwyer, L Rushe 0-2 each, S Ryan, J Boland, J McCaffrey (65), M O'Brien 0-1 each. Dubs Stars: S Durkin, C McCormack 1-1 each, P Ryan (0-3f), D Plunkett 0-4 each, C McBride 0-2, M Travers 0-1.
DUBLIN -- F McGarry; R Trainor, T Brady, O Gough; J Sheanon, J Boland, N Corcoran; J McCaffrey, M O'Brien; P Kelly, R O'Dwyer, L Rushe; S Ryan, D O'Dwyer, A McCrabbe. Subs Used: N McMorrow, S Lambert, R Walsh, M Quilty, C Clinton.
DUBS STARS -- G Maguire; M May, D Spain, M O'Sullivan; R O'Loughlin, S Nolan, M Travers; S Durkin, C Kellett; S Loughlin, C McCormack, D Plunkett; T Connolly, C McBride, P Ryan. Subs Used: C Doyle, D Connolly.
REF -- D O'Donovan (St Mark's).