Early setback for Daly as Gilroy wins Keaney battle
CONAL Keaney has left Dublin hurling manager Anthony Daly disappointed after deciding to concentrate once again on football for the coming season.
The Ballyboden ace relayed his decision to Daly via telephone yesterday and will be unavailable to the hurlers as they look to build on last year's impressive progress.
However, Keaney will not be the team captain of the footballers as manager Pat Gilroy last night confirmed Paul Griffin would continue as skipper.
It is understood that Dublin hurling management have been left unimpressed by Gilroy's tactics, which have succeeded in turning Keaney's head firmly back towards football. The player was torn between two codes and spoke with Daly recently, promising to make a decision before the weekend.
That decision has come a good deal quicker than Daly had anticipated and was no doubt hastened by Gilroy's offer to Keaney to lead the footballers into battle in 2010.
Keaney was a hurling All Star nominee back in 2003 but opted out of the hurling squad in 2005 to concentrate solely on football.
Keaney made his senior football debut during the 2005 National League campaign and has gone on to capture five Leinster titles.
However, Daly was optimistic that Keaney would return to the small ball code and those hopes were raised before Christmas when another dual player, Shane Ryan, returned to hurling.
But those hopes have now been dashed as Keaney has informed both Daly and Gilroy that he will be playing football only for the county this year. Daly would also have accepted the prospect of Keaney operating a dual mandate for the year but it is unlikely the player himself or the football management would have agreed.