Almost seven weeks ago Parnell Park witnessed one of the finest games of Minor Hurling the Leinster competition has seen in a very long time. The image of Dublin Manager Johnny McGuirk clenching and rattling both fist high into the Donnycarney air is one that will remain for a long time to come.
The mountain had been climbed, and despite it taking 20 minutes longer than it should, Dublin had seen off a huge challenge, rectified their 2015 final defeat to Kilkenny, and set themselves up for a revenge tie with Wexford in the curtain raiser of this Sunday’s Leinster Hurling Final day in HQ.
This will be Dublin’s third Leinster Final on the bounce and the Dublin manager knows only too well that it’s both a massive battle and an equally massive opportunity.
Wexford made an automatic advance to the Semi Finals of this year’s competition, beating Dublin by seven scores after extra time in the qualifier at Innovate Wexford Park back in April, and demolished Offaly to reach Sunday’s Final.
“We know how good Wexford are having lost to them earlier this year”, McGuirk said when speaking to Dublin’s official website, “and there is no way we will underestimate their challenge on Sunday.”
Dublin have grown in strength and stature since this game, beating Laois 1-18 to 0-12 the following weekend, setting up the aforementioned Semi Final tie against the reigning champions, only this time the additional two periods of extra time saw them flourish.
With absolutely everything thrown at them, they showed amazing resolve throughout, dethroning Kilkenny to advance.
Dublin’s last Leinster Final victory in 2012 was over Wexford, and they themselves haven’t tasted final success since 1985, despite being in ten of those contests.
Sunday, it’s their chance to exact some retribution on the Slaneysiders and will have prepared as well for this tie as any.
“They are a big, strong team that work terribly hard in winning breaks”, Johnny added, “and the massive work ethic that they play with is something that we will have to match on the day.”
The Dubs will be looking, once again for the likes of Colin Currie and Donal Burke to step up like they did against the Cats, and will hope that Johnny McGuirk Jnr is back to himself and on form for what will be an absolutely huge clash between these two sides.
Throw in on Sunday is 2:00pm