Time flies. Remind David O’Callaghan that Dublin and Galway conscionable connected Sunday astir 10 years since the landmark Leinster last and helium astir sounds surprised. He didn’t cognize it astatine the clip but Dublin’s 12-point triumph and archetypal provincial rubric successful 52 years was the destination and not a staging post.
“I was happy. Ten years is hard to believe. I was hitting into my 30′s and would person hoped that we could get backmost to that stage, different All-Ireland semi-final and possibly a measurement farther.”
Yet it was intoxicating, that summertime – a huffy surge done the state that went from astir losing to Wexford to hammering the champions successful the final. In betwixt determination the decision of Kilkenny, a archetypal since the 1940s and the past since, besides aft a replay.
“Trollier [Eamonn Dillon] got a extremity down successful Wexford and we were precise level that time and conscionable astir survived,” helium remembers.
Kilkenny were the litmus test. In manager Anthony Daly’s 3rd year, 2011, Dublin had beaten Kilkenny successful the league final, a archetypal nationalist rubric since 1939 but the pursuing title came with retribution, arsenic did 2012.
“People were looking astatine 2012 arsenic the large accidental for Dublin and Kilkenny conscionable rolled implicit us. In 2013 we conscionable went astir our business, getting promotion and gathering up to playing them again.
“You’re gauging yourself disconnected them. I’d accidental 2014 was peculiarly disappointing due to the fact that we had breached done the twelvemonth earlier and determination was an urgency due to the fact that a batch of america were getting on. But the grounds since hasn’t been superb either.”
[ Dublin 2-25 Galway 2-13: Dublin triumph 2013 Leinster hurling title ]
A diagnostic of Dublin’s title 10 years agone was that they played each week for 5 weeks due to the fact that of replays needed against Wexford and Kilkenny. O’Callaghan believes the changeless lucifer play benefited the squad and helium would emotion to beryllium playing successful the existent round-robin format.
“If you’re portion of a sports team, determination are times you deed patches and things are humming – everything’s right. That was however it each came unneurotic successful those weeks.
“In championships gone by, determination could beryllium immense gaps and I loved playing week connected week. In 2013 we played 5 weekends running. It was large and gave the squad cohesion.”
The consciousness of the semi-final was that Dublin’s accidental had gone aft they hadn’t taken the accidental to triumph connected the archetypal day. Kilkenny clawed it backmost and they had specified a bully grounds successful replays to accidental thing of the grounds against Dublin during the Brian Cody era, by which constituent it was 7 retired of 7 by an mean of 14 points.
O’Callaghan was to the fore successful the replay victory, scoring 0-4 from play arsenic a extremity by Danny Sutcliffe, who is inactive playing, defined the quality successful the extremity and the All-Ireland champions were consigned to the qualifiers.
“It was similar a value disconnected us,” helium says, “having been connected the receiving extremity of beatings by Kilkenny, who were the apical squad successful the state astatine that stage.
“The games built the momentum. We should person beaten Kilkenny the archetypal time but they got a precocious equaliser. There was a spot of a present oregon ne'er cognition connected the portion of the players astir Kilkenny earlier the replay. They had a large grounds successful replays but we knew it was time. They were determination for the taking.”
The brainsick scheduling careered connected with provincial champions Galway adjacent up. Dublin’s grounds successful the fixture was positive, arsenic they had defeated them successful 2011 but the squad had disappointed successful the past aft winning a large match.
“There was the hazard that we had to spell retired and play a Leinster last 7 days aboriginal but we smelled silverware and everyone was tuned in. That week determination was a ferocious grooming league arsenic good – nary holding back, nary easing disconnected and it acceptable the code for the final.
“You’d ne'er person it now. It would beryllium each astir betterment but absorption knew that we had been prone to pursuing a large triumph by falling flat. The assurance beating Kilkenny had injected into the squad, was huge.”
He starred successful the lucifer erstwhile it needed to beryllium won, providing the assistance for Paul Ryan’s archetypal extremity and stitching unneurotic 3 points earlier half-time to physique an eight-point lead, 1-12 to 0-7 and helium remembers the time fondly.
“The greeting of the Leinster final, my nephew was calved – I retrieve that and we were each truthful positive. We played well.”
Had they imagined that they weren’t going to triumph the match?
“I don’t deliberation so. That Galway squad went connected to triumph the All-Ireland and they got a mates of goals. I retrieve Conal [Keaney] dropping backmost to triumph immoderate ace balls. We managed to footwear connected and Paul [Ryan] got a bully goal.”
The celebrations were heartfelt and flavoured with optimism arsenic overmuch arsenic pridefulness but successful the All-Ireland semi-final, they came up narrowly abbreviated against Cork and ne'er truly rediscovered the assurance and brio of 2013.
On Sunday, Dublin play Galway again with an extracurricular accidental of reaching the Leinster last and a warrant of advancement successful the All-Ireland. O’Callaghan feels it’s a escaped shot, an accidental to enactment successful a show against 1 the contenders successful what is turning into a precise unfastened championship.
Asked whether helium is regretful oregon blessed with his ain career, the reply is positive.
“It’s not each astir winning but it was bully though for that procreation of Dublin hurlers to get the designation that comes with silverware.”