"I don't feel we have the hurlers for this short-game, or ever did" - Ryan says Dublin best served going back to basics 1 month ago

"I don't feel we have the hurlers for this short-game, or ever did" - Ryan says Dublin best served going back to basics

When Dublin beat Galway in 2019, in one of the county's best wins in recent times, the half back line was Shane Barrett, Sean Moran and Chris Crummey.

All the best passing that brick wall.

When Dublin were well-beaten by Cork in the Championship last year, their half back line was unrecognisable and hardly as influential, with Barrett, Moran and Crummey all missing in action as Conor Burke, Daire Grey and Cian O'Callaghan wore 5, 6 and 7.

Barrett and Moran were both sitting on the Semple Stadium bench that day while Crummey wasn't the dynamo we've come to expect, as he got used to a new position in the half forward line.

As Mattie Kenny builds up to his third year as team manager, the county's inconsistency came up for discussion on this Thursday's GAA Hour Preview Show with Colm Parkinson, Paddy Stapleton and recently retired Dub forward Paul Ryan.

"Dublin are a bit all over the place now," Colm Parkinson said, as the lads previewed this weekend's National Hurling League games.

"They don't know their best team. They don't know what way to play, and this is Mattie Kenny's third year where you should be building towards something. And it looks to me like the paper of the first year was ripped up last year, and now last year we have something that didn't work. Now you're into year three, almost like, where are we here?"

Ryan, who retired only a couple of months back, is of the opinion that Crummey should be back where he belongs, and feels Shane Barrett will be a monumental loss to the panel.

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"I still feel that there's really good men in that squad. It's to try and marry it all together. It's all of a sudden become a very uphill struggle for Mattie. I don't know what way he's going to line out this year. Bringing Chris Crummey into centre forward, I'd prefer to see him in the half back line. Shane Barrett has stepped away as well, he's a really big loss, a real modern 6 foot something half back who can hurl too.

"The half back line last year, I don't think it was settled. I have a feeling that Liam Rushe might be making his way back, as far as I know, he's flying it. Whenever I was playing, I used to love having Rushey centre back because he could cover the ground and whatever he lacked in pace, he made up for by reading the game brilliantly.

"I felt the short game didn't really work," added Ryan.

"We completely abandoned the short game for the Galway game and look what happened, we beat them, albeit in Parnell Park. I just think that the more direct ball suits Dublin teams, rather than this short-ball. Cork have the hurlers for that and I don't feel that we do, or ever did. I just feel the direct ball, straight in, that works best. It's a bit complicated. I'd like to see it a bit settled down, because the men are there."

Paddy Stapleton, meanwhile, argues that things have been over-complicated in the capital.

"I just think it was over-complicated last year. I don't want to be disrespectful but, we talk about being too cute, I think Mattie came in and was trying to put more of a presence in the forward line, you're totally taking away from the strengths of your team. Any team I was on, a good, strong half back line before you go anywhere, was essential."

"Cian O'Callaghan was playing wing back, he's a very good corner back, don't know why he's not playing there. Then you have Sean Moran out midfield, having hurled with distinction for Dublin and Cuala in the last few years at centre back. Then he, as one of your top three players, is off the team. Then you have Chris Crummey who's fine up front but switching a back into a forward at county level, it's hard enough to do it at club level..."

Dublin kick off their League campaign against Kilkenny this Saturday in Parnell Park and it's the start of a big year for them and for Mattie Kenny.