Gilroy backs 'draft' to balance Dublin club transfers
AN American solution to an Irish problem -- that's what Dublin manager Pat Gilroy proposes to stop the top metropolitan clubs getting stronger by the influx of player transfers from the country.
Gilroy suggests a draft system similar to that used in American Football, which is designed to spread the talent around, to the overall benefit of the NFL.
It might not be any consolation to the clubs from outside Dublin who lose their players, but it could level the playing field.
Gilroy was speaking at his team announcement for the Dublin v Cork Allianz Football League spectacular in Croke Park tonight.
The only change from the side that beat Armagh is Paul Flynn for Bryan Cullen, who has a minor back problem.
Gilroy said: "Whether it's some form of a draft system or a cap on the number of fellas who play on a senior team that didn't play juvenile in Dublin, it probably would be better that if fellas are coming up (from the country), maybe they shouldn't have a direct choice on where they go.
"Smaller clubs could get first choice on them. That would make it fairer.
"It's not necessarily healthy if it's just big clubs getting top players all the time, so maybe that's something that could be looked at.
"I think a kind of a draft system would be much better."
And before you say it, yes, Gilroy is a member of St Vincent's, historically a big name in Dublin football, and yes, they will have the services of Eamon Fennell, who fought a for almost four years to leave North Dublin neighbours O'Tooles.
This was a different issue to the country-to-Dublin club situation, and Gilroy has stayed clear of the controversy.
However, as Dublin boss, he is pleased that Fennell's case was finally sorted out during the week.
"It's a distraction that's over and out of the way. In fairness, it didn't cross over into anything to do with us much, but I'm sure from his point of view it's good to have it behind him," said Gilroy.
Fennell won't be playing for anyone for another two months as he is still rehabilitating his hip after a recent operation.
"He can't do weight-bearing training and I don't think Eamon will play any league games. I'd say he'll play club games all right, probably in April, but it will take him a while to build back up to fitness."
Fennell's midfield team-mate Michael Darragh Macauley highlighted the need for Dublin to avoid further injury problems in the central role to maintain the competition for places.
"Ross (McConnell) and Eamon are both out and there's Darren Magee who will hopefully get back into the fray," he said.
"There's Colm Murphy there as well, so there's a lot of people pushing for midfield places.
"It's all going to depend on injuries, how Ross and Eamon react to their serious hip injuries, and who can get themselves right at the right time."
Tonight, Macauley partners Dennis Bastick against All-Ireland and league champions Cork, and he is looking forward to the challenge.
"I suppose it is a trial run for the championship, especially with the new lads coming in. It is huge for them to get the experience of that atmosphere," he said.
Team captain for the night is quiet man Paul Casey, now 10 years playing for the Dubs.
The Lucan clubman revealed that Cork's Alan O'Connor, a former Lucan member, will bring the Sam Maguire Cup to the club after the match. Casey never played alongside O'Connor in Lucan colours and will save the pleasantries until after the game.
Croke Park will be buzzing tonight, with over 40,000 expected for the game, and while some will only be there for the Jedward interval entertainment, the atmosphere should be intense.
That's just how Casey likes it. "The more support we get in Croke Park the better it is for us and the better it is for Dublin football," he said.
Dublin (SFv Cork) -- S Cluxton; A Hubbard, S Murray, M Fitzsimons; D Lally, J McCarthy, P Casey (capt); MD Macauley, D Bastick; P Flynn, K McManamon, D Connolly; T Quinn, E O'Gara, B Brogan.