If you weren’t following hurling between 2009 and 2014 when Anthony Daly was in charge of Dublin, you caught up on it in 2015. Ger Cunningham’s first year had everything seen in his predecessor’s tenure; from the sublime to the downright dismal.
The Dubs are capable of brilliance, but are equally liable to not turn up on the day. This is not feasible if they are serious about putting together a number of performances to challenge for the All-Ireland title.
This year, they clinically put Wexford to the sword in Croke Park, and at times throughout the first half in the semi-final, looked as if they were going to have the measure of Kilkenny.
There is a ticking time-bomb in Dublin’s team, and when they don’t turn up, it is spectacular.
For every good day Dublin have had since 2009, including Leinster and League titles, there have been massive capitulations.
This decade so far, they have suffered a 14 point loss to Galway, 11, 12, 12 and 18 point losses to Kilkenny, a 10 point loss to Tipperary, and a 1 point loss to Antrim in 2010.
And those were only in the Championship.
Consistency is key in hurling. While many argue that Galway and Tipperary vie for the title of hurling’s greatest anomaly, the Dubs are outright winners.
Dublin are liable to put on a clinic in Cork this evening. Similarly, the summer could end prematurely at a whimper.
For Ger Cunningham bringing his Dubs Leeside, it is do or die. Win, and they march on. Lose, and you would have to think that it’s the end of the road for the St Finbarr’s clubman in the capital.
He has taken some big gambles with team selection today. Dotsy O’Callaghan drops to the bench, while Gary Maguire replaces Conor Dooley between the sticks.
Maguire was number one last year, but some poor distribution in the quarter-final loss to Waterford caused him to be dropped.
While we’re not going to second-guess Cunningham about goalkeeping, you have to question stability if he is changing things up half-way through the summer.
While this evening’s clash is far from the glamour when the two sides met in the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final, there is much at stake.
If the Dubs bow out this evening, change will come, and it will come in spades.
The minor and u21 sides are in Leinster finals, but underage success is positive up to a point. It’s time to deliver at senior level.
If you are attending this evening’s game, Pundit Arena GAA will be conducting fan interviews at the ground. Come over and share your thoughts!
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