Dublin travel to Cusack Park on Saturday evening for a mouth watering All Ireland SHC round 2 qualifier clash against a young and improving Clare team. Throw in 7pm.
The sense of hurt and embarrassment after their hammering by Kilkenny in the Leinster semi-final will no doubt still be fresh in Dublin minds.
Conal Keaney is a big injury doubt for Dublin and he would be a huge loss to a forward unit that failed to make any impact against Kilkenny. Dublin can draw no real positives from the Kilkenny game. They must start from scratch and get back to doing the basics well, competing hard for every ball, and playing as a unit up front. Their forwards need to start working together to create more scoring chances. The lack of goals has been and continues to be a big concern for Anthony Daly and his management team. Dublin badly need their main leaders to step to the plate. Expect Gary McGuire, Tom Brady, Joey Boland, Shane Durkin and Liam Rushe to lead from the front and carry the fight to the home team.
Clare on the other hand will head into this tie with some degree of confidence, after their excellent performance against Waterford in the Munster semi-final. They went down fighting. There is no doubt they are a vibrant and rapidly improving side. Typical of any Davy Fitzgerald led team, they fight hard from start to finish and are very disciplined.
Darach Honan is rapidly approaching full fitness and he would be a huge boost to Clare if available from the start. In the Waterford game they produced a good solid team performance and on Saturday evening they will look to Cian Dillon and Brendan Bugler to lead the defence with authority yet again. Further up the field, Nicky O’ Connell, John Conlon and Conor McGrath will be expected to provide the bulk of the scoring threat.
This is a massive game for both teams. If Dublin lose they will amazingly finish their 2012 season without a victory, and all the progress made in 2011 will become a distant memory. Clare may be a young and inexperienced side, but they are very well coached and they have a clear game plan that every player has bought in to. Home advantage might just swing it their way.
Team news : TBC