Gilroy vows to fight on with his trusted troops
DUBLIN football boss Pat Gilroy has vowed to be back for another crack at capturing the Sam Maguire Cup next year and indicated that it will be with largely the same group of players.
Gilroy has one more year of a three-year management term to go and has indicated that he will not be making any major changes to his panel after transforming their personnel and playing style in his second year in charge.
"I've another year to go and I couldn't ask any more from the players than what they've done for the county this year," he said. "We need to go away and study and see what really went wrong in the last 10 to 15 minutes (in the semi-final against Cork).
"But I think the bunch of the lads that are there will continue. There's nobody old in that dressing-room and I think we have the majority of the fellas we need."
A year ago, after a crushing quarter-final defeat by Kerry, Dublin lost the likes of Ciaran Whelan to retirement and Shane Ryan to hurling. Gilroy himself dispensed with the services of Jason Sherlock this summer and was unlucky to lose rising forward star Mark Davoren to a cruciate injury for the second year in a row.
In each of his first two seasons in charge Gilroy has trawled the capital for players, going so far as appointing 'regional' managers for a series of pre-season trial games to try to unearth new talent.
Former midfield giant Whelan was among those who immediately suggested yesterday that Gilroy "has developed a system with hard work and graft at its core but, for next year, Dublin will have to find another forward who will assist Bernard and Alan (Brogan) with the scoring".
Bernard Brogan contributed 3-42 (0-17f) of Dublin's championship total of seven goals and 107 points this summer. Their next highest scorers were Tomas Quinn, who hit 0-12 (0-7f, 0-1 '45'), Eoghan O'Gara (3-2), Alan Brogan (0-10) and Conal Keaney (0-9, 0-6f).
But in the immediate aftermath of Sunday's encounter, Gilroy denied that Dublin are overly dependent on the brilliant St Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh star and bristled at the suggestion that he needs to widen his net to find some more scoring forwards.
"If we had scored three points (against Cork) then I would have said 'yeah', but we scored 17," he said. "It would be great if everyone was scoring the same but the reality is that Bernard is the free-taker and he gets into those positions, and when he gets into those positions the lads give him the ball.
"Where we were this time last year to where we are now is a very different place, but it is really important that we as a team push on.
"I think our boys were mentally strong to face into a team of Cork's experience and have no fear, they showed that in the last two games. They really have no fear of teams like that now. We certainly achieved one of our objectives (this year), which was closing the gap between us and the top teams so we can compete with them.
"But it is time now for us to push on, that's the big challenge for us next year.
"We'll go and we'll look and try to analyse things but they all gave everything. Okay, they made mistakes but they gave absolutely everything, you couldn't ask for any more from a group and when that happens you have to be happy."