Crummey grateful championship gets go-ahead
By John Harrington
Dublin hurling captain, Chris Crummey, is grateful the 2020 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship is still going to go ahead.
He and his team-mates have been vigilant with their Covid-19 protocols and now he’s itching for action ahead of their Leinster SHC quarter-final clash with Laois on Saturday.
“From my perspective and I can’t really speak for other people, I do get a sense of hunger and appetite for the games to go ahead in my own squad,” says Crummey.
“You realise how lucky we are and how massive an opportunity it is to play championship in the winter months. We’re very grateful for the GAA and public health authorities giving it the go-ahead.
“I suppose at the end of the day it comes down to our families being kept safe and there’s an onus on players to make the call that’s right for them. Every player’s in a different situation with their family and work-life. I can only speak highly of our management team.
“They’ve been very vigilant with all the Covid protocols and Mattie Kenny’s been excellent if anyone doesn’t feel comfortable or doesn’t want to play. He’s left the door open for lads to make up their own mind and he’s been fully supportive.”
There aren’t too many silver-linings as far as the Covid-19 pandemic goes, but for Crummey it has at least given him the opportunity to be fit enough to play a full part in the championship.
It looked like he could miss at least a portion of their campaign when he underwent shoulder surgery in February after injuring the joint in an Allianz League match against Wexford, but the period of lockdown gave him the opportunity to complete his rehabilitation.
“I probably would have been very, very tight for the Kilkenny, Wexford games as they were in the space of a week,” he says. “It’s hard to know whether I would have played or not but I would have been close. It was a blessing though in that I’m fit healthy and get an opportunity to play Leinster championship this year, as I’d have been touch-and-go back in May.”
“I had my operation the week after the injury happened. Then it was a case of time and allowing the bone to heal. You do your remote physiotherapy sessions on Zoom but for my injury it was just a matter of time. Luckily I wasn’t in a rush with the physio over lockdown.”
Crummey has established himself as one of the best half-backs in the country in recent years, but he may well feature in the half-forward line for Dublin against Laois on Saturday after impressing there during the early rounds of the League.
“That’s where I finished up against Wexford when I got injured,” says Crummey. “I’ve been playing for the club in the forwards over the past few months and in recent years.
“I’ll play anywhere. Half forward or half back – there are a lot of similarities there between the roles. You see wing backs getting forward and wing forwards back in their own defence doing donkey work.
“After playing in the forwards for both club and county it’s more than likely that’s where I’ll be but I’ll play wherever Mattie Kenny decides to play me.”
Croke Park will be empty for Saturday’s match against Laois, but Crummey doesn’t think that will dull the edge of championship action.
“I would have had doubts before playing club championships but the majority of teams played behind closed doors without crowds,” he said.
“From my own perspective I thought going into it that it would be difficult but it really is a case of once the ball is thrown in and you know it’s championship and what’s at stake and on the line and the pitch itself has a very similar feel to it, you know the intensity is going to be different.
“I expect that to be the same on the intercounty scene as well. Having no crowd makes it different from a spectator point of view but from a playing perspective you’re concentrating solely on your role once the ball’s thrown in, crowd or no crowd.”
He insists revenge is not a motivator for Dublin on Saturday after their surprise Championship defeat to Laois last year.
What does excite him is that the knock-out nature of this year’s Championship makes it feel like anything is possible.
“Definitely, a slightly different feel with the whole preparation and in terms of all the different protocols that are in place,” he says.
“There’s a real opportunity for every team in that it’s gone back to knockout and it’s all the line every day you go out. That makes it very exciting and exposes different teams having different preparations and club championships. I’m sure there will be lots of shocks and there is opportunity for every team going out to play.”