Dooley’s number one target

by Gazette Reporter

DUBLIN hurler Conor Dooley sayss he is taking nothing for granted in the battle for the starting goalkeeper’s slot in Ger Cunningham’s championship team.
The Dubs face in-form Galway in the quarter final of the Leinster Hurling Championship on May 28 and the Ballyboden St Enda’s clubman is favourite to wear the goalkeeper’s shirt.
That’s because his Ballyboden clubmate Gary Maguire received a two-match suspension after being sent off for a wild swipe in the final league game against Kilkenny in March.
Dooley was back in situ for the relegation play-off against Clare, which the Dubs lost as they dropped to Division 1A, but faces tough competition from Na Fianna’s Jonathan Tracey.
“It’s good competition between the two of us,” Dooley said at the AIG Heroes event at Bluebell Community Centre on Tuesday morning.
“He’s obviously trying to chase the number one jersey and I’m trying to hold on to it before Gary gets back from suspension.
“It’s whoever’s performing the best who’ll get it. It’s not a case of ‘Gary is suspended so it’s mine for the year’ or anything like that. Ger will play whoever is playing well.”
Dooley is in the unusual position of vying with Maguire for the goalkeeper’s position at both club and county level.
It’s a problem Ballyboden have solved in the past by using Dooley as an outfield player – something he briefly did for the Dubs, albeit as a late sub in a heavy quarter-final replay defeat to the Tribesmen two years ago.
“I got a bit of a run out with my club but the Ballyboden senior hurling team is hard enough to make so I think I’d need a few outfield weeks before I can expect to get some game time there.
“They see me more as an outfield option than Gary. There’s nothing between us [as goalkepeers] so why have him sitting on the bench when he can’t play outfield whereas I might be able to offer something for ten minutes?”
High-flying Galway were crowned Division 1 champions following a thrilling win over Tipperary in the final and will enter the game as favourites in the eyes of many, which may just suit Dublin.
“You can see in the past, Dublin would perform better when they were the underdog so you’d be hoping that will play in our favour.
“I’d like to think [we can win the title]. You’re looking at Kilkenny, Galway, Dublin and a few others. Anyone on their day is capable of pulling it out of the bag. Our immediate aim is Galway but, as you’re looking through the year, you have your eyes set on silverware.”

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