Dublin Boss Mattie Kenny has tasked his medical team with a challenge
With at least one more test to go in the Bord Na Mona Walsh Cup next weekend, new Dublin Hurling manager Mattie Kenny has had opportunity to inspect most of his options.And there’s still plenty of time ahead of his first Allianz League Division 1B challenge.
Young players have already been tested and with the contingent from Ballyboden St. Endas still to link up with the panel, things are looking very positive for the new boss. The boys in blue travel to Portlaoise on January 6th for the final round game in the Leinster Pre-Season competition. And a win will see them join Galway, Kilkenny and Wexford in the Semi Finals.
Kenny has put a request in with both his medical staff and athletic development team. To have as many players as possible at his disposal before their first league fixture on January 26th.
“You can have all the great players and all the talent in the world,” Mattie told the Independent this week, “but unless you’re able to get them on the field, it’s no good to you.
“That is our starting point – trying to get everyone on the pitch.”
The boss has fielded a mixture of youth and experience so far. They’ve comfortably beating Carlow and Offaly in the Walsh Round games. And while they’ve performed very well there are still a large number of the 2018 Championship side still to return. Names like Liam Rushe, Danny Sutcliffe, Eoghan O’Donnell, Paddy Smyth and Rian McBride. Last week Conal Keaney had his surgery on his injured shoulder and hopes to return towards the end of the league campaign.
“It’s our aim to have everybody available when we go into January, with the ’Boden boys and everyone,” he admitted.
“There are a few lads who picked up a few little knocks, so we have to get them right for January.”
More Familiar Faces to return
Elsewhere, Mark Schutte, who was part of Jim Gavin’s Dublin panel for the past two years, and Darragh O’Connell, who sat out the 2018 season, have both committed to returning under their former club boss.But so far neither are understood to be close to a return to playing yet.
Many were concerned for fellow Cuala player David Treacy, who left the field during their Walsh Cup win over Offaly, certainly looking in some discomfort. But Kenny has confirmed that Treacy had just tightened up a bit and there was no cause for concern.
Eamon Dillon was given time both of the team’s competitive games so far as he lost out on a lot of game time last year after a dead leg and complications.
“The Eamonn Dillons of this world, we need them on the pitch expressing what they can do. Injuries are frustrating for any player and any manager as well because we want our best players available.”
“We’ve a good few players in there now. So really, it’s just heads down, getting our pre-season work done and working away quietly. These two games, they were good this week, just to break the monotony of the gym. But they’re a really good bunch of lads.”