Liam Rushe remains optimistic
By Cian O'Connell
Despite the unfortunate departure of manager Pat Gilroy Liam Rushe remains adamant that Dublin can continue to develop.
Work commitments forced Gilroy to step down from the role, but Rushe is optimistic about the future of the game in the capital.
"I think so there is a good panel there," Rush says. "Pat cast a very wide net last year there was over 100 players out for trials at different points. The people that are there now really wanted to be there and willing to work very hard all of last year and we gave it a cut last year and it was probably the first time for a lot of us to play together.
"The shape of the team probably wasn’t together until the first Championship game so there are definitely things to build on."
Though Rushe was hampered by injury in the early stages of 2018 he relished the new Leinster Championship format. "I really enjoyed it first and foremost," Rushe admits.
"Loved the format - it was a bit strange going down with a game to play in Galway with nothing to play for and we were one of the first teams to face that, but I loved every minute of it.
"I enjoyed shocking people as well. I think people were absolutely writing us off after the league, and Pat wrote the league off from day one.
"He started 10 lads out here that had never played before, and that’s just how it is.
"I think it’s this year or next year they are going to change the league anyway just to reflect the reality now that nobody wants a cut-throat Division 1 where teams are going hard at it for January, February and March and you have another League basically starting in May.
"It was different, it was probably tricky to get the organisation and the tapering right for the whole thing, but we all enjoyed it. We were close to our best and looking forward to going again."
Rushe, who suffered an arm injury a couple of months ago, recently completed the Dublin Marathon. How did that go? “It went anyway, that was the important thing,” Rushe jokes.
“I wanted to get under 4 (hours), I got 3.49 so I'll take that, I'm having trouble with stairs now at the moment! I went in with a bit of a sore throat, now I can barely speak. That's what it does to you.
“I always had it on the bucket list. My hand is actually broken, I broke it in a League game there a few weeks ago, seven or eight weeks ago and I kind of just decided then to do it.
“It was grand, I had to borrow someone else's number because it was obviously sold out. I managed to get hold of their number and gave it a lash.”
Ultimately that is what Dublin hurlers did throughout the summer, but how does Rushe rate the team compared to Limerick and Galway, who contested the All Ireland decider?
“I think we’re still a small bit back from those lads,” Rushe states. “They’ve proved for two years now, definitely Galway have just consistently produced it day in, day out.
“We’re still aspiring to get to that level. Having said that, last year was the first year in a while we were up at 90% basically every game, there was no massive flop.
“We were there in every one of our championship games. We have young panel hungry to develop so I think there’s a small gap there still but hopefully we can close it this year.”