While the profile of Dublin hurling has been on the rise since Dublin's 2011 National Hurling League victory, it was last weekend's genuinely historic 1-16 to 0-16 semi- final replay win over the seemingly unconquerable and dominating Kilkenny hurlers that has brought the Dubs to a different level and blown the hurling championship wide open. In a sport desperately crying out for new champions and more competition, it isn't impossible that Dublin could win the All- Ireland Hurling Championship. Should the Dublin senior football team, who continue to dominate Leinster and looked awesome against Kildare, last weekend, win this year's All- Ireland Football Championship, it would be the first time since Cork's 1990 double- win that a county has won both the hurling and football titles.
A rare case of Dublin GAA venturing for managers outside of the county, the success in recent years of the Dublin hurlers is no doubt down to Clare man Anthony Daly, who captained Clare to All- Ireland victories in 1995 and 1997. That said, the 2011 All- Ireland win for Dublin footballers also brought a fever and momentum of support to the county which hadn't been seen during the years in which the All- Ireland football championships continued to be dominated by Tyrone, Armagh, Kerry and Cork. It is, quite simply, a case of Dublin hurlers catching up with their successful footballing counterparts.
True, many still see Dublin supporters as fair-weather supporters who wouldn't travel to league matches and turn up, in the summer months, on Hill 16, 2 litre bottle of Bulmers in hand, when the going is good. That said, a double win for the nation's capital could only great for a sport that has long been characterized as "bog ball" or a sport exclusively for "culchies" and has previously lost ground to rugby and soccer. With competition for places rife in the Dublin football team and pressure on Dublin hurlers to deliver and capitalize on last week's unprecedented win over Kilkenny, The Dubs might just pull the double out of the bag.
Words: Philip Cummins