A Massive Test for Us - Dalo’

Dublin Manager Anthony Daly has seen a lot of hurling down through the years.

Dublin Manager Anthony Daly has seen a lot of hurling down through the years.

From the highs and lows of playing with his native Clare, to the difficulties he experienced as Manager of the Bannermen, and now to the dizzy heights at the helm with the Dubs, Dalo, as he is known to most in the GAA, has been there, done that.

So, it comes as no surprise that he is at ease chatting about his one great passion - hurling.

And, when it comes to an All-Ireland semi-final involving the Dubs - unchartered waters, so to speak in the modern game - Anthony is effervescent in his description of the magnetitude of the achievement.

Did he see it coming?

Did he think back in February when Tipp played Dublin in Croke Park in the NHL, that they would be meeting in the All-Ireland semi-final six months later?

“You always felt that there was a chance to meet in the championship.

“Tipp were not long off the beach on that night – I know myself when we were on the go with Clare with holidays and all that, we would have wintered well.

“I think what made that game more significant was that we had gone to Waterford and gotten a draw before hand.

“Tipp had been beaten by Kilkenny and we knew that with the Declan coming in as Manager, he would be anxious to get things going.

“They probably were not overly worried about the result – it is a different ball game now and I suppose we all knew that come summer, things would be different.

“But you know, the win was a great one for us because when the Spring series was mooted, I often wondered were we mad bringing the likes of Tipp to Croke Park, where they could tear you apart,” Anthony told The Tipperary Star.

As the summer progressed though and with the National Hurling League title tucked away for safety, Dublin’s star rose quite significantly.

They scalped Galway en-route to the Leinster Final, but then suffered a big setback when falling heavily to Kilkenny in the decider.

Back they bounced though, and the win over Limerick was a series affront to those who felt that the Dubs season was falling apart. A date with Tipp was on the cards.

“We had met in Athy in a challenge game and we were to play again in Clonmel in another game, but I said to Declan, ‘we won’t bother playing that game, cos you’d never know’ – there was a chance that we could have met them.

“Declan had no problem either in leaving it in fairness because I think he knew the chances of us meeting were getting bigger and bigger.

“That was a good match in Athy as well, but those matches were way more important for us than they were for Tipp.

“They gave a chance for us to measure ourselves, whereas Tipp would have been playing a lot of fringe players and giving other lads a run out,” Anthony said.

There will be no run outs on Sunday though and Anthony knows that his charges are up against the All-Ireland champions - a side in flying form.

Yes, Dublin will face Tipp without Conal Keaney, Stephen Hiney, Tomas Brady and now Oisin Gough who broke a hand in training last week. It will be a tall order for the Dubs.

But then, Dalo and Richie Stakelum are proven men when the backs are to the wall.