Shane O’Brien impressed as the Dublin hurlers laid strong foundations

Away from media interest and supporters, Dublin has quietly and efficiently laid the groundwork for an expanded body capable of rivaling the best teams in the country.

His group of players was originally put together following consultation between Dublin County Board’s Colm Burtchaell and Blues manager Mattie Kenny.

The idea behind this project was to try to bridge the gap from under 20 to seniors and also to invite players to the panel who may not have gone through this system but have excelled with their clubs.

The concept is seen as a positive step for Dublin Hurling and group manager Shane O’Brien was extremely impressed with the standards and commitment from the players.

“This group was formed three and a half months ago and it’s been remarkable to see how the players have evolved and improved their reputation as top-flight hurlers,” said O’Brien.

“The players have been treated to the highest standards and we are very grateful to Mattie and his management team for welcoming the lads into this high-performance environment.

“We had seven very competitive games and three internal games with Mattie’s side.

“I’m extremely optimistic that a lot of these guys will eventually break through as I firmly believe this template gives those players a chance to get a taste of what it’s like at the highest level and there is one now clear path for them out of the under-20.”

Four of those players have now been eliminated as a result of their involvement on the extended body with Donnacha Ryan (St Brigid’s), Conor Donohue (Erin’s Isle), Cillian Hayes (St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh) and Cillian Hayes (St Darragh Power (Fingallians) all becoming included in the senior board.

Overall, the body have played against teams from University College Dublin, TU Dublin, Meath, Waterford, Galway, Offaly and Down over the last few months and O’Brien was heartened by the bid shown by the Dublin players

“The players were so enthusiastic and open-minded.

“Her talent is unquestionable and our challenge as the management team is to take her to the next level and make this transition as smooth as possible for her.

“Paudie O’Neill did a great job of reviewing the players’ performances and helping them set goals,” added O’Brien.

Dublin manager Kenny could not be more positive about the progress the body has made this year and that is something he is keen to continue.

“We launched an Extended Panel back in early December with the aim of providing a path and opportunity for players in the 20-23 age group to continue their development and prepare alongside the Dublin Senior Panel.

“We look at players coming from Dublin’s youngest U20 sides, as well as players who have performed well in both senior and middle-tier club competitions.

“It is hugely important to the future of Dublin Hurling that we continue to develop these players and we have been extremely fortunate to bring someone of the caliber and experience of Shane O’Brien to work with this group and provide them with great help by Paudie O’Neill and Stephen Bennett (Strength and Conditioning).

“We are absolutely thrilled with the progress this group has made over the past three months.

“This gave us in Dublin’s senior management team a great opportunity to get an up-close look at these players.

“The players are now back with their clubs and we will be keeping a close eye on them and others as they fare with their clubs throughout the year and bringing them back into that process at the end of the year. Shane O’Brien impressed as the Dublin hurlers laid strong foundations

Fry Electronics Team

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