Dublin signed off a somewhat underwhelming Allianz Hurling League campaign with a defeat to Tipperary in Croke Park yesterday. However, Pat Gilroy has given a huge number of players a chance, as they continue to build for the Leinster Championship.
With seven weeks until the Kilkenny game to open their summer, the Boys in Blue improved as the league progressed, but are still well off the standard required to contend with Galway, Kilkenny and Wexford in Leinster.
Speaking after the loss to Tipp, Gilroy revealed his taking the positives from the campaign.
“It’s been great for us in terms of getting to see so many players. We wanted to give everybody a reasonable shot at it. I think we’ve learned a hell of a lot from it. We’ve progressed in many ways through the league. Our ball retention has been actually a little bit better as we’ve gone from game to game. Our work rate has been better.
“The areas from an improvement perspective is eliminating so many errors. That requires more work on the training field, and it’s mainly ball work that we need to do.”
Dublin do have the added benefit of the Cuala contingent returning in the coming weeks. Gilroy said that he has had minimal contact with Mattie Kenny’s men since a meeting with the Galway native in December, but he is now ready to approach several of the players.
“We’ve been at each of the games, and been really impressed with a lot of guys there. Lads are in serious form so we’ll be making a good few phone calls tomorrow.
“[It was an] incredible achievement. Fantastic. To do it back to back is brilliant. Winning your first and then to do it again is just, it was a great performance. Their work rate is phenomenal, and the last ten minutes of how they held their head and worked those scores at the end when it looked like it was slipping away, I thought it was very impressive.”
The addition of the Cuala players to the panel will signal a much-needed boost, but it remains to be seen if that will bring them to the level required.