Smyth reckons Dublin hurlers are 'in with a good shout' against Cork
By John Harrington
Dublin defender Paddy Smyth says the metropolitans have been boosted the return of Cian O’Callaghan, Ronan Hayes, Fergal Whitely and Oisin O’Rorke to their panel for Saturday’s All-Ireland SHC Quarter-Final against Cork.
The quartet were ruled out of the Leinster SHC Final against Kilkenny at very late notice by Covid-19 protocols, which tested the strength of Dublin’s panel.
“Obviously it was far from ideal, finding out the day of the game,” admits Smyth.
“But Andrew Dunphy stepped in, played an All-Ireland final the week before, and I thought Cian O'Sullivan, the couple of lads that stepped in were pushing for spots anyway.
“The lads were back training at the weekend there, so they brought great energy. It's good to have them back. It was tough for them to miss the Leinster final but them lads are pushing us on again, so it's just good to have them back.
“It was strange old circumstances. So obviously not ideal preparation for a Leinster Final.”
Full-back Eoghan O’Donnell was forced off with a recurrence of hamstring injury minutes into that Leinster Final and Smyth is in the dark about whether or not he’ll be able to play any part against Cork.
“I'm not too sure,” he said. “You've seen Eoghan work night and day to try and get himself as right as possible. I'm sure he's doing the same thing again, working with physios trying to get himself as good as possible. But I'm not too sure on his most recent update.”
Kilkenny beat Dublin by nine points in the Leinster Final but Smyth believes he and his team-mates have taken plenty of positives from the game that put them in a strong position going into Saturday’s quarter-final against Cork.
“Yeah, without doubt. Obviously all the external circumstances, the injuries, we were still in that game. I think just before half-time we had three in a row to bring it back level. And then conceding three right before half-time.
“Definitely positives to take from it. It was the first Leinster final for a lot of lads. So even the occasion, trying to get used to that. But definitely positives. Kilkenny are one of the top sides, and we put it up to them for large periods. So definitely moving forward, we're looking forward to the weekend anyway.”
Dublin are significant underdogs going into the match but Smyth is confident they are good enough to win if they play to their full potential.
“Cork are a good side,” he said. “They knocked us out last year, but it was a close game. We were watching them at the weekend, they're quality hurlers.
“But we know ourselves, if we bring our performance levels, we'll definitely be in with a good shout.”