By Rory Houston
Dublin manager Anthony Daly wants his players to focus on their performances this season and not where it can take them as they look to banish a disappointing 2012 season.
The Allianz Hurling League win and progress to the All-Ireland Hurling Championship semi-finals two years ago was heralded as a major breakthrough for the Dubs.
But Daly’s side flopped last year with an 18-point defeat to Kilkenny in Leinster and an exit against Clare in the qualifiers.
It led to a lot of soul-searching for Daly but he has opted to continue in the post and now wants his players to get back to basics.
He told RTÉ Radio: “Momentum is important and we are looking to build momentum. Performance, respecting every game, because no matter what the competition is, we respect it. Therefore the two matches in the Walsh Cup were beneficial to us.
“Maybe we didn’t respect performance enough (last year). We probably got carried away a bit by what people were saying about us. People talking about top fours and this kind of thing.
“’Could we be the next team to challenge and all of this sort of stuff’.
“Maybe we got focused too much on results and didn’t respect every game as it came. That is what we did in 2011 and what we’re hoping to try to get back and do this year."
Tomás Brady and Ciaran Kilkenny have opted to play with Jim Gavin’s footballers rather than be part of the hurling squad.
Daly has said he sees little point in dwelling on players that will not be in his panel and the return of the likes of Niall Corcoran, Maurice O’Brien and Paul Schutte to full-fitness tempers their absence.
Ryan O’Dwyer and Stephen Hiney will miss the opening games of of Dublin’s Allianz Hurling League 1B programme which begins this weekend against Offaly.
“It’s zero setback to us because we have what we have. I can’t make up anyone’s mind for them in what they want to do.
“You’d love if you thought every single hurler in the county was available to you. Fellas pick whatever fellas pick, I can’t twist their arm to do anything else," Daly said.
“There is no regulation in the GAA that they have to play both. We are thrilled with our squad and we have lads back that were suffering from long-term injury. We wish the footballers the best of luck and drive on with our own project.“