I was very encouraged by that. Sure it all went wrong after the sending off (and a little bit of that is because when the game was obviously over for Dublin they rightly threw on lads to give them a game).
The object of pre season stuff is to find players (or to find out players), and it was very successful for that. Connolly had a very good Walsh Cup, likewise Kelly and O Carroll. Others we knew about like Whitely and Hendricken did their cause no harm at all. The guys you would be expect to be on the team performed well (Chris Crummy is just an unbelievable hurler).
Yes, it all went horribly wrong after the sending off. Some of it was fitness maybe and some was poor decision making on the ball and management should also have done something more. If they had replaced Winters with Dillon at half time we would have won, and maybe won easily. But this is one game, stuff like that isn’t important at this time of year except as a learning tool.
I thought the skill level from both teams was really really good for January and I was delighted our lads could perform at that level. The majority of these guys won’t be on the A team, but they showed we have strength in depth.
Danny had some really good touches, but was blowing hard after every time he got involved in the play. But he will be fine in a month or two.
I am just undecided about Burke. I am 100% sure he will be a star, but I am just not sure if he is physically up to it yet. He won very little ball all day, and then midway through the second half he soared up and caught a high ball and laid it off beautifully. Probably come summer time he will be better. Whitely did very well, but he is more effective then he looks. I think determination gets him through some situations rather then sublime skill - but I guess it’s not important how it works out, once it works out.
The performance of McCaffery and Nolan again just highlights the insanity of the Cunningham era.
On the ref - he gets some criticism above, but I thought he was more or less spot on every time. There were only maybe 2 times when I didn’t see what he saw, and that is maybe just because I didn’t see it. The Winters sending off was correct, definitely two yellow card offenses. Maybe the full back could have went also, but in general he was playing it cleverer then Winters - if I was to bet at half time which one of them would go (I said at half time one of them would), I would have slightly favored Winters as the one to walk.