MATTIE KENNY’S Dublin senior hurlers will need to put last Saturday’s second-half collapse and eventual 17-point defeat to Kilkenny quickly behind them if they are to beat table-toppers Galway and book their place in the Leinster final.
The Dubs were hammered by Brian Cody’s Cats at Parnell Park last week, but their fate is still in their own hands. A win against Galway in Pearse Stadium on Saturday night would be enough to book their place in the provincial decider. But if Wexford lose to Kilkenny – or even draw – the Boys in Blue will at least find themselves back in the All-Ireland series.
“The first half was really competitive and a good game but I think the goals kind of really killed us,” said Kenny, in his fourth season as Dublin manager.
“They got a softish goal in the first half and then in the second half that second goal gave them that six- or seven-point cushion and they drove on from that.
“Then they scored the third goal. The goals kind of buried us.”
But they remain in the competition and must raise spirits somehow. “There’s four teams left in it now I think,” said Kenny.
“All four . . . some teams are trying to qualify for the Leinster final, some teams are trying to qualify to stay in the competition. It’s all going down to the last day again.”
Galway, meanwhile, may have secured seven points out of eight so far in the Leinster round-robin, the last brace of points coming from a second-half demolition of Laois in O’Moore Park on Saturday night.
And Henry Shefflin’s team still have to at least draw with Dublin next Saturday to nail down a place in the Leinster final.
A Dublin win and a Kilkenny win over Wexford and Galway would not be in the final.
Fat chance you say, after Dublin got spanked in their own backyard by Kilkenny on the same evening, but Shefflin was having none of it.
“All I’m thinking of is January 16 last, when Dublin beat us 3-29 to 0-19 in the Walsh Cup,” he recalled.
“If anyone thinks we’re going to coast to a win over Dublin, they have another thing coming. We remember that scoreline and we’ve work to do.”
Ronan Hayes of Dublin in action with Kilkenny’s Tommy Walsh at Parnell Park.