Kelleher impressed by Gilroy's no-nonsense style
Published 07/09/2011 | 05:00
ROBBIE KELLEHER has credited Pat Gilroy with taking away "a lot of the nonsense" attached to the Dublin football team.
Kelleher, a rock-solid corner-back in the Dublin team of the 1970s and now a renowned economist, was one of the kingmakers who recommended that a punt should be taken on rookie Gilroy three years ago after Paul Caffrey stepped down as manager.
And in his estimation, Gilroy has done a great job.
"I have to say that I am very impressed with the discipline and focus Pat has brought to his players," said Kelleher.
"He has taken away a lot of the nonsense that was there -- this nonsense of paying tribute to the Hill and kissing the badge, all that kind of carry on.
"They just look to be very focused. The won the last day and they won against Tyrone and played so well and yet they just walked straight off the pitch. There was none of that walking down to the Hill and that sort of stuff.
"Some players like Ger Brennan and Kevin Nolan have been very prone (in the past) to giving away silly frees but Pat has taken a lot of that out of them. He's done a great job that way."
Kelleher admits that recommending the then 39-year-old with no managerial experience at this level was a gamble.
"I was getting my hip done in hospital when the final decision was made but he came out of the blue, to be quite frank," said Kelleher.
"(Kevin) Heffernan knew him well. I think Heffernan is his godfather and was very friendly with Pat's father (the late Jackie). He made the suggestion, we met him and we were just very impressed with him.
"Pat is a successful businessman, not that something like that necessarily makes for a good football manager, but you could clearly see his skills in management. It was what he said and proposed, so we thought he was worth a shot.
"He had his difficulties in his first year and at the start of last year when it looked like he was going to go out in the first round against Wexford, but he has done a great job and brought great focus.
"There was talk at the time of bringing an outside guy into Dublin but I think that would have been a mistake for a traditional football county. I could see how you could bring someone in to do a job in a peripheral county but to do it in a traditional county is a big mistake."
Kelleher never saw the Tyrone performance coming from Dublin because he didn't think they were capable of something like that.
"What happened against Tyrone was something I didn't think was in them. I didn't think they were as good as that," he said.
"Early in the year, people were saying they only really have Bernard and Alan Brogan and if you keep them quiet there is no other firepower there. But some of them have stepped up greatly."