Paul Clarke’s young Dublin side showed true grit and character last Sunday in Newbridge as they turned around a six point deficit to beat Kildare and claim a place in the O’Byrne Cup Final against Louth in Drogheda next weekend.
There were a number of young hopefuls who impressed last Sunday, but there were two in particular that Clarke believes will push for a first team spot on Jim Gavin’s side this season.
They are Niall Scully from Templeogue Synge Street and Conor McHugh from Na Fianna. Scully has been very impressive throughout the O’Byrne Cup campaign.
Up to Sunday he had been deployed at wingback, but he was switched to wing-forward against Kildare. Niall put in an all action display which include three second half points.
“I just wanted to have a look at Niall in the half-forward line, knowing that he had pace … but he still has that work ethic of tackling and working back. He is a great talent, a great engine; we’ve known that over the years,” Clarke explained to the Herald.
“Looking at a Dublin team or panel at the moment, you look at the competition in a certain line. You might say, ‘Well, you are moving me from half-back where there is tough competition to a half-forward line where there is greater competition?’ So am I doing him any favours?”
But he added: “His performance might just drive him on to want a little bit more from it.”
Another to shine was Conor McHugh who hit a late flourish against Kildare with a well taken free, an assist and the final insurance point right at the death. McHugh has been tipped for great things at senior level since he was one of the main stars of the 2014 U21 All Ireland winning side.
“Conor has been primed for bigger and better things,” Clarke reminded. “We know his talent. He has good hands, he has good feet. It’s for him to realise that himself and bring it on.”