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'You Have To Be Able To Play The Ball Out Or You'll Be Exposed'

Pictured is DCU Dóchas Éireann hurlers, Adrian Mullen and Andrew Dunphy, as Electric Ireland teams up with six intercounty Camogie and GAA stars to look ahead to the upcoming matches and rivalries across the Electric Ireland Camogie Third Level Championships and the Electric Ireland GAA Higher Education Championships. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tom Maher
By PJ Browne Updated
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Andrew Dunphy believes Dublin sides getting the better of teams from Kilkenny and Galway at schools and underage grades provides a boost to the county at senior level. The St Brigid's man was part of a North Dublin schools side which defeated St Kieran's College, and he also captained Dublin when they defeated Galway in the delayed 2020 Leinster U20 hurling final.

"I think there’s always been a belief there and you wouldn’t be scared going out against a team, you have to make an account of yourself," says Dunphy, speaking ahead of next week's opening round of the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup.

"The team itself needs to perform. It’s not necessarily on who you’re playing. But that’s definitely a factor, the young lads would have taken great confidence out of beating Kieran’s [College] and beating Galway in a Leinster final at U20 naturally gives you that little boost when you win those big games. They are pressure scenarios so when you come out on top there it does give you that little bit of confidence."

2 February 2022; Andy Dunphy of DCU Dóchas Éireann in action against Cathal Dunbar of IT Carlow during the Electric Ireland HE GAA Fitzgibbon Cup Round 3 match between DCU Dóchas Éireann and IT Carlow at Dublin City University Sportsground in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Dunphy, who will line out for DCU in the Fitzgibbon Cup, made his Dublin senior debut three years ago. Several players from that Dublin U20 Leinster title-winning side have also recently made their senior bows. "The physicality and the pressure you're under on the ball is just another step up," Dunphy says about the jump from underage hurling to the top rung.

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"You've no time on the ball and you're constantly getting hit hard and tackled the whole time so you know, the intensity is another 20 per cent so you just have to get up to the speed of hurling and get everything improved a little bit."

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The fullback line has been Dunphy's residence for his whole career. It has become an increasingly attractive position in recent years, one where players see more of the ball, and have a lot more expected of them.

"You're not just spending 60 or 70 minutes just sledging lads anymore," he says with a smile.

"The way the game has gone now, corner backs tend to get on a small bit more ball than they used to, with short puck-outs and everything. You need to be able to hurl your way out of trouble if you're stuck in a corner or if you've to work the ball out. So it is something you need to concentrate on, your stick-work and your speed of hurling.

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"When you're playing underage, it's not mad on short puck outs or tactics. When you come in to minor and U20, there's huge emphasis. You have to be able to play the ball out or you'll be exposed. You just have to work away at it, if you're not good at it, you just have to improve."

See Also: 11 Players To Watch Out For In The 2023 Sigerson Cup

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