Fintan Clandillon is helping Dublin youngsters to develop
By Cian O'Connell
Since 2004 the Dublin minor hurlers have won five Leinster titles and lost five provincial deciders. Ultimately it means they have operated in the All Ireland series in 10 of the last 14 Championships, a further sign of the strides that have been made in the capital.
Manufacturing hurlers capable of operating at the highest level is one of Fintan Clandillon’s key objectives. Clandillon is earning a favourable reputation as an emerging coach in Dublin. Despite losing the inaugural All Ireland Under 17 Final to Cork last Sunday, Dublin return to Croke Park for an attractive minor Semi-Final against the same opposition.
Demanding assignments are arriving thick and fast. “They are, it is brilliant really that we have the opportunity to back there again because it was very disappointing last Sunday,” Clandillon admits. “For a lot of management teams your season would be over so to have another opportunity to be at that stage, we are delighted to have it.
“We knew that Cork were very much fancied so we tried to focus on ourselves, to have ourselves in as good a position as possible. On the day things didn't go our way and the margin of defeat shows the fine lines that are in it when you get to big days like that. Cork were fully deserving of their win in the end.”
Significant experience is being accumulated by an exciting crop of Dublin hurlers which is hugely encouraging according to Clandillon.
“I think it is beneficial because you can get wrapped up into a bubble in terms of being with the Under 17 group or the minor group, I suppose there is an overarching and bigger picture about trying to get as many guys hurling and hurling at a higher level in order to benefit Dublin in the long run,” Clandillon admits.
“So that kind of exposure is great. You can play all the challenge matches you want, even some competitive games, but to be on this stage you can't get enough games into the young lads.
“On certain days it will go for them, on other days there might be performances or individual performances that might be below par, but again that is all part of the experience. The sign of the really good guys or the guys that are really going to make it is how they can deal with the good and the bad.”
Dublin are now a consistent force in the underage ranks, especially in Leinster. Everybody respects the sky blue jersey.
“Yeah, I think the development squads, that we are starting to reap the rewards from them,” Clandillon states.
“It is brilliant to be at this age group and what you are talking about really is trying to have a conveyor belt of talent coming through on a yearly basis rather than having a particularly brilliant team every third or fourth year.
“I think would only enable you to get limited success down the line. If you are producing quality teams on a more consistent basis, which is what we are trying to do even though we haven't had that major breakthrough, I think that is the way forward. We just need to get as much quality out of the groups as we can.” The hard work continues.