GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Hurling Championship could be open and high-scoring, says Mattie Kenny
Last Updated: 25/10/20 1:46pm
2-31 to 0-23. Score-lines like Saturday night were not part of the winter hurling script.
But Dublin's 14-point win over Laois got the race for the Liam MacCarthy Cup underway at a frantic pace.
So what can explain such a high-scoring, open shootout?
"I know it's been referenced with the Premier League in England. Playing in an empty Croke Park, the emotion of the crowd isn't there. The game seemed very open," said Dubs boss Mattie Kenny.
"There were a lot of scores from both sides. Laois ran up a very good score as well. Is this going to be a sign of things to come in the championship without the crowds?
"The emotion the crowd gives...it's a more open game of hurling, more free-scoring [without them].
"It will be interesting to see does that pattern maintain as we go along in the championship."
Nonetheless, it was a satisfactory evening's work for the men from the capital. But there is little time to rest on their laurels, with a Leinster Championship semi-final against Kilkenny coming down the tracks next weekend.
"This is our first championship match in 15 months and our first competitive game since the end of February," said the Galway native.
"The biggest thing we were concentrating on tonight is getting the lads back home and starting the recovery. It's our first game in a long, long time so it's going to take a good bit out of the legs. It's recovery, recovery, recovery over the next few days. We'll get the lads back in on Tuesday night and start planning for next Saturday night again."
Revenge mission complete
Dublin have finally put their 2019 shock defeat at the hands of the O'Moore County to bed.
"You can't stay looking backwards the whole time," Kenny reflected.
"I was hugely frustrated but it's probably the media that gets hung up on the past occurrences than management teams themselves. You're always looking at the next training session or game. What's behind you is behind you and you've just got to learn whatever lessons that come out of it and move on.
"Last year were we disappointed? We were very disappointed, bitterly disappointed over our performances that day and we went to dust ourselves down and go again and look forward to 2020."
We were very disappointed, bitterly disappointed over our performances that day.
Kenny is pleased to put last year's loss to bed
And the man-of-the-match performance from Donal Burke, who scored 1-16, was a particularly pleasing aspect for Kenny.
"Donal has been a great player since he was 16, 17," said the former Cuala supremo. "[He] played really well for Dublin minors and U21s. He was always a great talent coming through and we in Dublin were delighted this evening to see him doing it out there at senior level. He's a very, very skilful player, a great striker of the ball and in fairness to the young lad he got some lovely scores there tonight."
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There were contrasting emotions for Laois boss Eddie Brennan.
"You can't take it away from Dublin, I spoke about the hurt they were probably feeling and that was evident there," said the Kilkenny man.
"We showed at stages tonight how good we can be and I think the goal in the first half turned out to be significant. If we could have avoided that goal, we were well in it.
"It's brutal coming out of the tunnel at the start of the match and there's no reaction from the crowd. That's the last little jolt of adrenaline when you come out to the field at Croke Park. It was a surreal atmosphere, a bit unusual, you can hear the lads and probably all the giving out we're doing. That's definitely a funny one, I don't know if we'll play the crowd noise or whatever."