For Dublin boss Pat Gilroy, this Sunday can’t come quick enough.
If there was ever a silver lining to Pat Gilroy’s first National Hurling League campaign this year, it’s definitely this weekend’s Quarter Final clash with Tipperary.
The fact that’s it’s a League Quarter Final and not a relegation play off is one thing. The fact that Dublin have home advantage and the game will be played on the confines of Parnell Park is monumental.
The Donnycarney venue, Headquarters of the county, has seen some amazing hurling battles over the years. Some oppositions to the Boys In Blue have openly admitted that they don’t like playing there. And the Dublin fans crave nothing more than the closeness they feel to the action when the ground is packed to capacity.
And it’s that atmosphere the Dublin Hurlers will hope to draw from as they face the Premier County this weekend.
Beaming after the weekend’s result over Laois Gilroy told the Herald “It’s another competitive outing and another opportunity to see lads.”
“We’d be really looking forward to it, no matter who it is. Can’t wait to play it actually.”
Tipperary are a completely different animal to anything Dublin have faced so far this year, one that Gilroy will need to focus on immediately. They’ve met Dublin three times since Michael Ryan took over the reigns, and each time the score lines were ones Dublin Hurling fans may probably choose to forget.
In Ger Cunningham’s opening League game of 2016, Tipp demolished Dublin on a score of 1-23 to 0-12 in Thurles.
Twelve months later it was almost the same, if not slightly worse in Croke Park, with Dublin leaving the field following a 1-24 To 1-08 rout.
But it was last July that pretty much spelled the end to Ger Cunningham’s tenure, with Tipp schooling Dublin 6-26 to 1-19 in Semple Stadium.
What’s interesting though, when you look back to the 2015 meeting of these two, in Parnell Park, it was indeed a different outcome, with Dublin the victors on a score of 2-20 to 0-14, giving Cunningham the most positive of starts to his League tenure with the boys in blue.
This Sunday, it’s Dublin’s opportunity to ask the questions of themselves, and feed off the home support, in an attempt to extend their campaign by at least one more game.
The Dubs last game in Parnell Park, despite it being a loss, was a more spirited performance against All Ireland Champions Galway, and it wasn’t until the close of the game that they lost their grip. But they did it in 2015, beating Galway 0-26 to 2-14, and again in 2016 by 1-17 to 0-13. So who’s to say there won’t be a twist in this tale at the weekend.
“The last two games have been very close to what we’re looking for.” Gilroy admitted.
“We were coming into the first few games on the back of a lot of injuries, and we probably hadn’t got enough balance in the team.”
“And, you know, we were getting it in training but we weren’t getting it in games. But that has improved.”
For Ticket Information to this Sunday’s Allianz League Quarter Final in Parnell Park, just click here.