Saturday 18 November 2017

Ryan hat-trick helps keep Walsh Cup preparations on track

Dublin 7-13
Dubs Stars 0-8

Dublin's preparations for the upcoming Walsh Cup continued as they comfortably accounted for the Dubs Stars in their annual New Year's Day challenge at St Peregrine's.

Dublin assumed control from the 10th minute, with Paul Ryan striking a first-half hat-trick for the county team, who were creating goal-scoring chances at will.

A raft of changes at the interval failed to halt Dublin's momentum, with Niall McMorrow and Glenn Whelan sharing 1-7 in the second period. The Dubs Stars' challenge petered out as they eventually succumbed by 26 points.

Given their well-documented difficulties last year, this victory provided a much-needed morale boost for the panel, according to Dublin selector Richie Stakelum, who took charge in Anthony Daly's absence through suspension.

"There's a kind of a cleansing effect, being back. Last year was a disaster for us, there is no point in us saying otherwise. We've gone back very much to a workmanlike approach and focused on performances rather than getting caught up in any other distractions – we've just got our heads down and worked," said Stakelum.

"We are gone from the summer long enough and time is a great healer. We put the head down and spent a long time discussing things amongst ourselves and decided we'd bring in a lot of fresh faces, and youth brings great energy. They have given us all a lift."

Whelan was just one of the more recent additions to the panel to impress, with Chris Crummy another to feature prominently for Dublin.

The Dubs Stars failed to live up to their billing with the rare exception of Sean McGrath from Kilmacud Crokes, who shone throughout despite limited possession.

Ryan's first strike arrived in the fifth minute following clever play from Liam Rushe and another new arrival, Thomas Devlin, fed Conor McCormack for Dublin's second goal three minutes later.

Although McGrath and Cian McBride added points for the Dubs Stars, the pressure on their defence was constant with the impressive Danny Sutcliffe and Ryan netting within three minutes midway through the half.

Ryan's third arrived three minutes before the break and second-half goals by McMorrow and Aodhan Clabby completed the rout, with Stakelum insistent that the errors and distractions of last year's campaign have been eradicated.

"There was a bit of loose talk alright last year (about winning All-Irelands), but we probably got a bit distracted with the lads coming back from injury and probably put a bit too much store in the three fellas with the cruciate injuries returning to the panel," he said.

"Ironically, we had the same scoring average that won the league as we had last year when we were relegated, which was quite bizarre, but, while we won a lot of games by a point in 2011, we lost them by a point last year.

"Winning is a habit, but so too is losing and losing is a more difficult one to break."

SCORERS – Dublin: P Ryan 3-2 (0-1f), N McMorrow 1-4 (0-4f), D Sutcliffe 1-1, C McCormack, A Clabby 1-0, G Whelan 0-3, T Devlin, C Keaney, C Crummy 0-1 each. Dubs Stars: S McGrath 0-5 (1 '65'), C McBride 0-2, J Hetherton 0-1.

DUBLIN – F McGarry; C Murphy, M Carton, O Gough; K Dunne, P Kelly, C Crummy; J McCaffrey, L Rushe; D O'Callaghan, C McCormack, D Sutcliffe; P Ryan, C Keaney, T Devlin. Subs used: K Byrne, A Clabby, C Cronin, S McClelland, N McMorrow, M Schutte, G Whelan.

DUBS STARS – M Collins; J Doughan, P Schutte, G O'Meara; M McCaffrey, J Boland, S Moran; D Mulligan, C McBride; B Connolly, W O'Brien, J Hetherton; C Waldron, D Treacy, S McGrath. Subs used: B McCormack, R O'Loughlin, G Ennis, C Foley, S Sweeney.

REF – P Behan (Trinity Gaels).

Irish Independent

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