Dublin open their Allianz National Hurling League campaign when they host Offaly in Parnell Park, this Saturday evening at 7pm.
The Blues boss Anthony Daly is targetting a place in the final place this season, believing that anyone who doesn’t take the League seriously is ‘only codding themselves’.
The side from the capital caused a shock with their performances two years ago, but injury decimated their 2012 campaign and it is best to put a line through it. Offaly have been but a pale shadow of themselves in recent seasons but with a great deal of hard work being done behind the scenes, the Faithful County have been slowly showing signs of a revival.
Dublin were relegated from 1A last season, having won the league in 2011. Injuries and suspensions ruined their season, and there is doubt but that they are a far better outfit than the formbook suggests. Having looked the side most likely to trouble Kilkenny over the next few years, it would be a mistake to write them off on the back of one poor campaign. The underage structure in the capital is second to none and the conveyer belt of talent shows no sign of stopping just yet.
Offaly have improved and made a decent Clare side work hard in last season’s 1B division. Shane Dooley leads the line and perhaps if there is a fault, it is their over reliance on the forward.
Stephen Wynne is definitely out for Offaly, while Derek Morkham and Derek Keaney face late fitness tests. Stephen Hiney and Ryan O’Dwyer are both on the way back for Dublin, although this weekend’s game may come too soon for both.
At 1/5 there is little mileage in backing Dublin, but they look the most likely winners and it would be a surprise were they to meet with defeat on Saturday night. Dublin minus six points at 5/6 with Boylesports should give backers a run for their money.