BALLYMUN KICKHAMS senior football manager Brendan Hackett says his side are in a difficult situation as they begin their Division 1 League title defence this Sunday morning when they host beaten championship finalists Thomas Davis (10.30am).
Hackett is unsure if county players such as Philly McMahon, James McCarthy and Dean Rock will be available for the tie, as the northside club face into their first competitive game of the year.
“It’s a difficult situation, because obviously with talented players they will get selected by Dublin,” he told Dublin Gazette.
“There’s six of them with Dublin at the moment, and that causes a difficulty obviously for the club because we don’t see them, and we don’t have them for league, and then we see them for a very short period of time for the Championship.
“That’s a huge challenge because they are very talented. But you are trying to come back and play with essentially a group of people that you aren’t playing with the whole time and that’s a difficulty.
“Ballymun always look strong on paper, and are always up at the top of favourites.
“But, as you have seen in the last while, Ballymun have only won one championship since the 1980s.
“So that’s the reality on the ground; it’s quite a challenge with so many talented players off with Dublin because you only get to see them for four sessions before you play your first championship match.
“Last year was encouraging; it was a step forward because the remaining players had a good league campaign,” he continued.
“I think that is imperative for the development of the rest of the players, no doubt. “You prove yourself in the league first and I think that it’s no accident that most of the teams who have won the championship in the last few years, always have good league campaigns.”
Hackett says his side will be setting their stall out as strongly as they can in the quest for back-to-back titles.
“We take the league seriously,” he said. “We set out a target last year to try and win at least 10 of the 15 games.
“That was our target last year, and that comes down to a level of consistency, and so we’ll be hoping to do similar again in the league.”
And what of Ballymun’s opponents Thomas Davis?
“One of the reasons Thomas Davis have been so successful is that their manager has worked with them for a number of years,” Hackett said.
“They’ve got a consistency now – the sum of the parts would make them a very strong team, and that’s what they have thrived on.
“They work very hard as a unit, and they have great team spirit.”
Ballymun Kickhams v Thomas Davis is one of eight games on Sunday morning.