All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship quarter-final preview
Dublin v Cork, Saturday, 7pm – Semple Stadium, Live Sky Sports
By Aaron Dunne
IF Dublin’s glorious Leinster title breakthrough win of 2013 represented the highest point in the lives of most hurling folk in the capital – the subsequent semi-final defeat to Cork definitely represented the lowest.
Johnny McCaffrey captained Anthony Daly’s men to their finest hour in Croke Park – and also in their bitterest defeat a few weeks later. Those painful memories won’t mean anything to the current crop of Dublin hurlers though – more recent agonies are more likely to motivate them this Saturday night when they face down Cork again – Mattie Kenny’s Dubs hoping to secure a first Championship victory over the Rebels since 1927 – zero wins from 10 attempts.
“Cork were obviously good at the weekend against Clare, so it’s hard to know,” Lucan Sarsfields clubman McCaffrey told the Dublin Gazette this week.
“Especially when Clare came back at the them towards the end they responded and got a good couple of scores to win it out.
“It’s hard to know if the couple of weeks between matches will have done Dublin any good or whether the momentum of Cork will stand to them.
“I think Cork have a bit of an advantage because the game is in Thurles; Cork love playing in Thurles and Dublin haven’t had massive success down there over the course of the past few years.
“But Dublin have nothing to lose. They will have been disappointed after the result against Kilkenny, especially with their second-half performance, so they’ll be going out to try and put that right.
“They’ll know that everyone will be fancying Cork, so they really have nothing to lose. If they do perform on the day they have a right chance of winning it.”
It won’t be the memories of that 2013 defeat to the Leesiders that will act as the major motivator for Dublin, though, insists McCaffrey, rather last year’s tame Championship exit at the hands of the same foes.
“There’s more of a revenge factor from last year than anything else,” added the Lucan man.
“Dublin would have been really disappointed with that. They went out very tamely that day. So they’ll certainly be hoping not to have a repeat performance like that; they’ll certainly be looking to improve on that anyway. It would be massive to get the win at the weekend though.
“It doesn’t look like Eoghan O’Donnell will be back, judging by the way he came off the last day anyway (in the Leinster final against Kilkenny).
“From the outside looking in you’d have to say it might have been a mistake to start him, but you’re not privy to what was going on insde the camp. I presume he was fit enough during training and I’m sure he passed any tests, and I presume they wouldn’t have risked him if he wasn’t 99 per cent fit.
“It was just one of those things that it didn’t hold up.”
Caption: Captain Johnny McCaffrey leads Dublin in the parade before their 2013 All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Cork – (SPORTSFILE)