Chris Crummey: 'I'm ready to take responsibility'
By John Harrington
Chris Crummey might be just 23 years old, but he already feels like a veteran of this Dublin hurling team.
Almost an entire generation of players have either retired or not found favour with manager Ger Cunningham, who has invested heavily in youth.
Six of last years Leinster minor panel are already part of the senior panel, so when Crummey looks around the dressing-room he realises he has little choice but to assume a leadership role.
Its good to have lads like Gary Maguire and Ryan ODwyer making me feel young still but I definitely am above average in terms of age and in terms of experience as well, says Crummey.
Im a year older and a year more experienced. I take that responsibility, I dont feel any burden. And management arent placing it on me.
But as you get older, you do get more vocal in the dressing-room. Ive learned so much from players Ive been involved with; leaders like Stephen Hiney and Johnny McCaffrey.
Any information that you have, any help you can give to younger lads in the dressing-room, its important to pass it on."
Conventional wisdom dictated that Dublin would struggle in 2017 after experienced players like Johnny McCaffrey, ex joint-captain Peter Kelly, Paul Ryan, Daire Plunkett, Niall Corcoran, Shane Durkin, and Glenn Whelan were either dropped our opted out of the panel.
When you hollow an experienced core from a team like that it often takes some time for the younger players to step into the breach.
Its very early days yet and tonights match against Wexford will be informative, but so far at least Dublin have looked energetic and effective in their two wins to date over Carlow and UCD in the Walsh Cup.
Chris Crummey celebrates Dublin's win over Limerick in the 2015 All-Ireland SHC Qualifiers.
Newcomers like Donal Burke and Cian OSullivan have been scoring heavily, and Crummey has been impressed by the attitude and ability his young team-mates have shown so far.
Lads like Donal Burke, Cian OSullivan, Paddy Smyththese lads have come straight out of minor. Theyre performing. Theyve done so well so far.
Theyre not short on confidence at all, which is great. Hopefully they can continue that now for the remaining games in the Walsh Cup and into the League.
So far, all I can do is judge them on training and games and they have been performing really well.
As long as they keep those performances up theyre definitely able.
Dublins hopes of retaining their Division 1A status this year wont be helped if Cuala make it all the way to the All-Ireland Club hurling Final because it will rob them of quality players like David Treacy, Mark Schutte, Cian OCallaghan, Oisn Gough, Colm Cronin, and Darragh OConnell.
But even though it might hurt Dublin in the short-term, Crummey hopes Cuala can go all the way.
Honestly, I thought it was brilliant for Dublin hurling. You saw how competitive the Dublin Championship was this year, how many tight games they had and then went into Leinster and won that very convincingly.
So it just shows you the standard of Dublin hurling and the calibre of players in Dublin at the moment, which is great to see.
Please God, they can get over Slaughtneil and go a step further. It would be great to see them go all the way.
Crummey is choosing to adopt a glass half full approach as their difficult League opener against All-Ireland champions Tipperary looms closer.
Theyll be without some of their most experienced players for that match through injury or unavailability, but, as he points out, that means opportunity knocks for others.
Its such a great opportunity for every lad on the panel. Obviously wed love to have those Cuala lads. Wed love to have the lads who are injured in the squad.
But its just a great opportunity for those lads to stay in the team for the Walsh cup and into the league and give Ger as many headaches as possible coming into the Championship.