New Dublin selector Anthony Cunningham is hoping for some surprises this Summer

Anthony Cunningham - Dublin Senior Hurling

When Pat Gilroy’s name was thrown into the hat to succeed Ger Cunningham as new Dublin Senior Hurling manager, it was met with a mixture of uncertainty and excitement. But the only uncertainty was his lack of hurling credentials.

Since his ratification though, Gilroy has applied himself in the same way he did when he turned the Dublin Senior Football panel into All Ireland Champions back in 2011. The Vincents club man has always managed to align and surround himself with the best at his disposal. And Pat won’t rush the process, will turn every stone and fine tune his unit in attempt to bring hurling success back to the capital.

And when the invitation was extended to former Galway hurling manger Anthony Cunningham to Gilroy’s backroom team, there was only ever going to be one answer.

Cunningham let his native Galway to All Ireland finals in 2012 and 2015. In addition Anthony has dipped his foot in the football water, managing two club sides to provincial wins. And he joins Mickey Whelan, a legend in Dublin football, and a successful manager to boot.

While Dublin’s 2018 League campaign wasn’t the most promising, there were certainly signs of vast improvement on their final round game against Galway and of course at the beginning of their League Quarter final clash against Tipperary.

Tomorrow however is the start of the real test for Gilroy, Cunningham, Whelan and the entire dressing room as Kilkenny descend on Parnell Park for the opening Leinster Senior Hurling fixture.

Anthony Cunningham is promising a vast increase in intensity when Dublin line out in front of the Cats.

“We’re no different than anyone else.” He told the Herald this week.

“We want to qualify, nick a home win and the last match or two could be very interesting then.”

But what Cunningham wants more than anything is for people to give thee panel time to adapt and gel under the new regime,

“I would hope that the powers-that-be – the John Costellos & Co and the Dublin county board – would be happy with the progress on that.”

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

“They can get there – I’d be confident of that. And I think Dublin needs a strong hurling team as well, because I think you’ll have a lot of football players in Dublin not getting on an inter-county team.”

Anthony so far has been really surprised and impressed with the budding talent in the county, making him confident that things are certainly in good shape in the county.

“Take the likes of Ronan Hayes, Fergal Whitely – their skill level is really high and will stand to them, most definitely.”

“That’s testament to more coaching going on in Dublin. You definitely can see that a lot of these players have played more hurling at underage. And that’s no disrespect to the former players that have gone.”

“They’re probably closer to a Galway or a Tipperary player or a Jason Flynn.”

Pat Gilroy has again named a good mix of both youth and experience to start against Kilkenny tomorrow, which definitely stood to Dublin in their last two league fixtures despite losing both.

“You do need experience, and you need to get the balance right. It’s great to have young players coming through, but you do need the Keaneys and the Danny Sutcliffes and the Cian O’Callaghans, these guys who are around the block.”

Dublin hurling fans will be hoping for more improvement this weekend, but against Kilkenny it will be difficult following their strong showing in the League and Brian Cody’s strong team selection for tomorrow.

“We want to create a surprise or two this summer, that’s for sure. That’s what we’re in the game for.”