For Dave Dunning His Job First And Foremost Is To Progress Players To Move Up To The Senior Ranks
Ahead of the Dublin Intermediate Camogie squads opening Littlewoods Ireland Division 2 National Camogie League fixture against Tipperary we spoke to manager Dave Dunning to get his thoughts on the 2020 season.
Dave Dunning took over as manager midway through last season just before the Leinster championship.
The Intermediates had a difficult start to their 2019 league campaign and found themselves involved in a relegation play-off with Carlow at the end of the campaign which they won to hold onto their division 2 status.
With just 12 players remaining when Dave took over he had days to assemble a squad in time to face Kildare.
With such a short time to prepare for the game there was little expectation that Dublin would perform well on the day, but Dave explained that not only did they put in a performance but Dublin led the game in the closing stages and only lost by a point to a deflected goal.
“We had to put together that week and we went into to the game with about 12 players left over from the inters and we had a good game against Kildare. Into the last two minutes of the game and we were leading by two points and they got a goal, a deflected shot into the net in injury time and they won by a point.”
But the performance in that game proved what Dave Dunning knew, that there was was great players in Dublin and great talent in Dublin and by the time the All Ireland series came around he had assembled a good squad which included 18 second year minors with ten of them making the debuts for Dublin at Intermediate level.
Dave said the squad grew into the championship as it progressed and the team put in some excellent performances as well securing wins along the way, the first Dublin had ever won at that level.
“From that point on (after the Kildare game) we knew and we know there is players in Dublin and we’ve got great talent in Dublin and by the time the championship had started proper we had a good squad.
“We brought in a lot of the second year minors, we brought in actually 18 over the summer and ten of them made their debuts and in the championship itself, we grew into the championship. We were beaten in our first game by Kilkenny, but we won our second game which is the first time at that level that Dublin have won a game.
“The third game we played was tough it was against the All Ireland champions Westmeath and we were in the game up until the last seven or eight minutes and probably just fitness let us down but as I said we were only in there a short while.
“We played Galway in the following game and we actually held the lead for the majority of the first half but they came back with two scores late in the half. But in the second half we played a lot of good Camogie, there was a lot of movement, there was a lot of support play and we got two great goals out of it.
“Galway again though in the last seven or eight minutes they were only a couple of points ahead of us and again their fitness and sharpness seen us off. We were confident going up to Antrim and we had a great game up there, we played with a couple of systems because of the way the game worked but we came out as winners and we were delighted with that.
“From that last game against Antrim out of the starting fifteen I think 8 or 9 of the players went up to the seniors, so that was probably the big success last year we had with the inters that 9 players went up to the seniors and we were able to gave debuts to 10 players.
“There might have been no trophies won but we had a couple of good wins, a couple of good games against the finalists and All Ireland winners and we got a good squad together and the time span from the time we walked in till we finished was 11 weeks, so yes we were happy with that and we were happy to see the players progress to the seniors.”
Again this year there are a lot of new faces in the Dublin Intermediate squad and it is a very young and inexperienced group of players.
That maybe so but at the end of the season what will constitute success for David Dunning and his intermediate squad?
For Dave his job first and foremost is to develop players to move up to the senior ranks, but as he also states he wants to win he is not just in sport to take part.
“With the players we have brought in, there are a few from last year, but again we have a lot of young players in, for the game against Tipperary we will probably have a minimum of ten new debutants for Dublin which I think is fantastic.
“Again there is players there now that I would have spoken to the senior management about them saying look we have five or six players that are potential senior players, just to let them know so they can keep an eye on them.
“We are delighted, we are proud of the fact that we can name 10 debutants and it’s not that we are just doing it for the sake of it, they have during the preseason demanded that they play, the only drawback is probably inexperience, they are all young, we have got a very young squad, so we are going into tough games but they have to gain experience and this is the level for them to gain experience.
“Progressing players that’s my job, look I want to win every game like everyone else, i’m not in sport just to tak part, no I’m in it to win.
“But success for us first and foremost is at the end of the season I can say to Willie and John look there is eight or nine players here that really should get a shot at the seniors have a look at them.
“And again like last season if eight or nine players go up again next year to the seniors we will be delighted, that will be a success.
“And we are already keeping our eye out for players to bring in for championship maybe from the minors and for next season, we know there players who could not make it this year whether it’s because of exams or working away.
“But we will looking to see will they come in and they probably would have come in if they hadn’t been caught up in other stuff, but there is players out there that want to play for Dublin and we have got great talent, we seen that in the club championship with the way it went.
“So my job and the crew around me is to progress players so we can say to the senior management look these players are good have a look at them and if they play senior level next year it’s great.
“There was couple of players last Sunday who were with us last year in that performance by the seniors against Galway and sure we were proud on the sideline that there was players involved in that game it was great.”
The Dublin Intermediates begin there League campaign away from home against Tipperary this Sunday and for Dave Dunning the first thing he will be looking for from his team is a performance and he wants his players to play without any fear.
“First and foremost we always look for a performance and with performances results follow.
“We are going into Sunday and we want the players to have no fear and we are setting ourselves up to attack, we aren’t dropping any players back in defence there is nothing like that, now we have worked on system that we can play like that, but we want the players to go out and attack Tipperary so that’s they way we are going.
“They are young players probably lacking in experience but we don’t want them showing any fear, just let them off, let them go at them and we will manage the game from the sidelines if we need to change things and move things around, but look let them out, some of the players in preseason in the forwards are getting good scores, so let them go out and get the scores if they can.
“The backs have been tenacious they are showing good intensity, we are trying to move the ball from the back, we are not just hitting puck-outs for the sake of it.
“So everything is worked on so we want them to take that courage and show no fear and just go at Tipperary.”
Dave Dunning further spoke about the rest of the league and the fixtures against Antrim and Laois, the upcoming championship and much more. The full interview can be viewed in the video above.