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Dublin forward Cian Boland hopes to hit the ground running under new hurling manager Pat Gilroy in 2018.
The 22-year-old is preparing to undergo a second knee operation over the winter, as he looks to regain full fitness in time for the start of the new League season under Gilroy, who was appointed Dublin boss on 11 October.
The 45-year-old, who led the Dublin footballers to All-Ireland victory in 2011, replaces Ger Cunningham, who resigned in July following the Dubs' humiliating 6-26 to 1-19 SHC qualifier defeat to Tipperary.
"The last two years were tough," Boland said.
"I got an operation in October of last year and it kind of came back over the summer so I'm looking get it sorted now.
"Patella tendonitis. It's an inflammation just below the bone. The operation I got done was just scrapped out calcification, which is like bone growing in the tendon.
"But then it kind of came back again, so I'm looking to get it sorted once and for all.
"My main goal now is getting back playing. I'm not looking at anything else. Just focusing on getting myself fit and the rest will look after itself."
The St Oliver Plunkett clubman is looking forward to the new 2018 Championship structure, where the provincial campaigns will be played in a group format.
"It's definitely a better way to do it," he said.
"Because last year, I think after our first match, we were waiting five weeks to play another game.
"Summer is the time you want to be playing as well. So I think it's a good change.
"If you have consistent games it helps. It's tough to keep the motivation going and keep the tempo going when you have gaps of six weeks in the summer."
Boland is particularly looking forward to playing regularly at Parnell Park, where the Dubs were unbeaten between March 2011 and their league defeat to Limerick in April 2016.
"It's become a bit of a fortress lately," he continued.
"And it's a better atmosphere. Any of the league games over the years, the atmosphere has been great in Parnell, whereas it can be a bit dead in Croker."
Missing the Championship already? eir Sport will broadcast up to 30 games from the GAA Football and Hurling Club Championships in 2017, including the Dublin club football championship final between Ballymun Kickhams and reigning Dublin champions St Vincent's from Parnell Park on Bank Holiday Monday, 30 October, which will be shown live on eir Sport 2 [throw-in 7pm].
Image: Inpho/Tommy Dickson
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