FROM THE HIGH of Parnell to the low of Portlaoise.
Three weeks ago Dublin were brimming with optimism, a rousing victory over Galway had seen them escape from the Leinster hurling bearpit.
Yesterday they were staring ahead at a long idle summer, despatched by Laois at the opening All-Ireland hurdle.
No complaints from manager Mattie Kenny, just a deep sense of frustration that they produced ‘an unacceptable performance’.
“We started slowly and allowed them get a grip of the game early in the first half. When they got a foothold in the game, we found it difficult to get it back off them.
“There’s an element of responsibility between the players and the management today. That was an unacceptable performance from our group. And we know that. The problem is, it’s too f***ing late now.
“It’s a disappointing way to finish the season for us. Laois put up great fight there. They had great hunger. Dublin weren’t at the required level today. And we’ve nobody to blame for that only ourselves.”
Was there any clues over the last few weeks that Dublin were heading for a slump?
“Our preparation went really well,” stated Kenny.
“But sport is funny. You have to make sure that outside influences don’t seep into the guys’ minds. A lot of people were writing about ‘Dublin are playing Tipperary’. That was being disrespectful to Laois, because Laois played really well in the Joe McDonagh and played really well again today.
“The best team won on the day. You’d be very disappointed with the Dublin performance. “Unfortunately the focus and the level of professionalism that we’d expect from ourselves wasn’t there today.”
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This defeat is a painful one for the Dublin hurling camp but Kenny was keen to credit their conquerors.
“Of course it’s hard to take. But look, you can’t take away from Laois either. They fought for everything. They had far more hunger and desire than we did today.
“Today we had 17 missed scoring opportunities. That cost us dearly. But overall the intensity that we’ve been playing at for the last number of weeks, we didn’t bring it today. And I think that reflected on our tackle-rate and I think it affected on our work rate as well.
“Laois always got those scores to keep their noses ahead. They showed great heart and great determination. And you’d have to admire them for that.”
After all their progress in emerging from Leinster, Dublin’s season concluded on a low note.
“There’s no doubt about it. When we qualified out of Leinster, we wanted to go deep into the championship. This is not the way we wanted to go out. It’s a bitter disappointment for us.”
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