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Galway native on fresh Dublin challenge

Donoghue couldn’t resist lure of inter-county management when opportunity to take over the Dublin hurlers came about

Micheál Donoghue couldn’t resist lure of inter-county management when opportunity to take over the Dublin hurlers came about.

Boxers often talk about ring rust if they have been out of action for a prolonged period and Micheál Donoghue felt the same could easily have materialised were he to stay out of the managerial fire line any longer.

The lure of inter-county management was an offer which Galway’s 2017 All-Ireland SHC-winning manager simply couldn’t refuse when the chance arose with Dublin and the 48-year-old is loving life back in the thick of things again.

“I think very much so,” Donoghue said when asked if inter-county hurling has changed much since his time with Galway.

“We were going to be four years gone at this stage and obviously I was doing a bit of media and punditry work.

“But we just felt that if it went to four or five years that it is harder to get back and maybe you get stuck in a rut as well.

“But the enticement of even going to games was there and when it’s in you, it’s in you.

“It’s nice to be back at it and once you get back in it at all, it’s like you never left, into the thrust of it.

“The lads are working really hard and they’ve done everything we’ve asked of them. It’s good to be back.”

It’s a fair spin from the west coast to the eastern equivalent but Donoghue has his right-hand men Francis Forde and Noel Larkin with him once again.

The trio meet in Ballinasloe before sailing along the motorway to Dublin with plenty trashed out in both legs of the trip.

“We commute together so it’s not as taxing as if you were doing the driving by yourself,” he said.

“We share the driving and do a bit of work in the car on the way up. It actually saves time so it’s good.”

To be a fly on the window of that car would be interesting and there will be plenty of difficult conversations over the coming weeks as Donoghue trims a squad of just over 50 ahead of the League.

“It’s not easy, that’s the hard part of the job. Since we’ve gone up there, everybody has put the shoulder to the wheel hugely and it’s the hard part of the job now where you have to thin it out but c’est la vie,” he said.

Donoghue cast his net wide as he tries to find some unpolished gems to offset the loss of experienced servants like Chris Crummey, Liam Rushe, Rian McBride, Cian O’Callaghan and Mark Schutte.

“We’re happy with some of the lads that we found. There was a big turnover from the squad, in or around the 10 mark have stepped away through one thing or another, those gaps had to be filled,” Donoghue said.

“We went to as many club games as we could and I’ve seen an awful lot. We’re working with a squad in excess of 50 so the Walsh Cup was good for us to see as many of those lads as possible, and getting the more experienced players back on the pitch.

“It’s a big two weeks for us to regroup and set the standard again now.”

He shared an RTÉ studio with Davy Fitzgerald last summer on The Sunday Game but the pair will now duke it out on the sideline as the Dubs head to Waterford on Sunday week for a tasty opening round of their Allianz HL Division 1B campaign.

Another duel with his native Galway – who they fell to in the Walsh Cup last week – is also on the agenda in the Leinster SHC round-robin series but that was something which h quickly made peace with.

“It’s inevitable because we’re in Leinster and in the same competition that we’re going to meet,” Donoghue said.

“We had it last week and the first time is always the hardest and that’s done.”

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