On 31 May 2015, Ger Cunningham managed Dublin for the first time in the Championship. Their opposition that day was Galway. It was hardly a classic but Dublin played with panache and confidence (they'd hammered Galway in the 2013 Leinster final after all). The Dubs lead for a lot of the game and David Treacy had a late free to give a Dublin a two-point lead. He missed it and Aidan Harte came down and equalised and the match finished as a draw.
Galway would hammer the Dubs in the replay and reach the All-Ireland final that year.
The Dublin senior hurling team has been drifting towards irrelevance ever since.
The teams met again today to launch their respective Leinster campaigns. Galway arrive as League champions, Dublin as fodder for 'county in crisis' newspaper articles. The match was thoroughly one-sided, as Galway coasted to a 14-point victory.
Dublin have become hurling's version of the HBO programme 'The Leftovers'. On that show, on an October afternoon, familiar names and faces (2% of the world's population actually) simply vanish with no explanation as to where they've gone to, or why they've disappeared
Dublin has been afflicted by a similar vanishing.
We don't have inside knowledge as to why the Dublin hurling squad has shorn 20 players since Cunningham's arrival, but it was clear today that the Dubs desperately needed the likes of the Schutte's or Conal Keaney or Danny Sutcliffetoday. The players selected by Cunningham today were clearly playing for their manager, and a harsh second yellow card against Cian O'Callaghan effectively ended the match, but clearly Cunningham and his set up must shoulder the responsibility when the county's best hurlers opt to stay home. We're three months removed from Cuala's club All-Ireland and Dublin intercounty hurling has not been in this bad of a state in a decade. 9 of the 15 who started Dublin's draw with Galway two seasons ago were not available for selection today.
Cunningham didn't have many convincing answers when grilled by Joanne Cantwell after the match.
Dublin manager Ger Cunningham disappointed with some decisions that went against his team but admits they might not have changed the result pic.twitter.com/TJnwaGSPEi
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) May 28, 2017
However, on social media, it was clear that Dublin hurling fans were losing patience with Cunningham.
Dublin hurling going in the wrong direction.. Ger Cunningham has a lot of questions to answer to
— Ste (@stekelly89) May 28, 2017
Ger Cunningham needs to step down
— Noli (@JustNoli1) May 28, 2017
something has to give now with Ger Cunningham now that was shocking absolutely shocking , I'm putting my name in tonight
— aidan pidgeon (@captain2003) May 28, 2017
Will we have to wait for another trouncing in the qualifiers before Ger Cunningham gets the boot? #GAA
— Caroline Ann O'Sullivan (@CarolineAnnO) May 28, 2017
@DubGAAOfficial Ger Cunningham must been SACKED immediately on the final whistle,Absolute Shambles,set hurling back 10 years in DUBLIN,joke
— kevin murphy (@childrenofmongo) May 28, 2017
The qualifiers loom for Dublin but barring the return of the county's best players, it's hard to see how Cunnigham can salvage this season.