Gilroy expects end of 'ridiculous' errors as Brogan returns to shuffled Dubs pack
DUBLIN boss Pat Gilroy didn't mince his words when announcing his team selection in the city yesterday morning.
The St Vincent's man recognised that changes were required after his side's dismal opening 45 minutes against Wexford and adjusted three lines of his team for the clash with Meath in Croke Park tomorrow.
Perhaps the most significant change comes at centre-forward, where Alan Brogan comes in for David Henry. Brogan also skippers the side in Henry's absence in what is hardly a like-for-like switch, with Brogan's attacking flair replacing Henry's natural defensive instinct.
Henry has been shifted around in recent months and was the poster boy for the work-ethic Gilroy is trying to instil in his side, but he has been dispensed with as Dublin look to atone for their poor showing.
Kevin McManamon, the St Jude's player who impressed over the course of the league and emerged as top scorer after Bernard Brogan, also loses out, with Tomas Quinn taking his place.
The absence of Denis Bastick (suspension) and Cian O'Sullivan (hamstring) means Ger Brennan and Bryan Cullen are recalled to the half-back line with the latter named at No 6, though it would be no surprise to see the pair switch before throw-in.
"It was difficult to leave out the two guys up front, in particular, but we've gone with the fellas who've shown a bit of form in the last couple of weeks," said Gilroy.
With Hugh Gill, Paul Conlon, Eamon Fennell, Ross McConnell and Niall Corkery all carrying knocks into the game, Dublin have delayed naming their subs bench. However, Gilroy confirmed that they would not be staying overnight in a hotel, as was the case prior to the Wexford encounter.
"We had a mixed reaction from guys after (the overnight stay). An awful lot of guys really liked it, particularly the younger guys. I think maybe fellas who have a set routine may have found it a bit more difficult," he explained.
Ross O'Carroll retains his place at full-back as expected after coming through Leinster U-21 hurling duty against Kilkenny unscathed and Gilroy will assess that situation on an ongoing basis. But the Dublin manager made it clear he expects a vast improvement from his side on Sunday.
"We just kept giving the ball to Wexford under no pressure and when you start giving the ball to the opposition the amount of times we were doing it in the first half, you're going to look awful.
"We gave the ball to them 19 times in the first half, which is just ridiculous. It's not anything like what we would normally do."
Defender Barry Cahill, whose cousin Kevin Cahill won an All-Ireland with Meath in 1996, agreed that Dublin reverted to their more traditional style in the latter stages of the Wexford game, but it's unlikely that Dublin will abandon their system totally.
Wing-forwards Paul Flynn and Niall Corkery have crucial roles to play and if the remainder of the Dublin attack are supplied with enough possession, they have the quality to hurt Meath.
"Going into the game there was a lot of talk about our defensive system," Cahill said. "In the second half we just decided to push up on our men and try and concentrate a bit more when we had the ball.
"It didn't happen straight away at the start of the second half but once we got the goal I felt confident we could go on get something out of the game."
And if Meath's defence has been identified as their Achilles heel, their attack is has to be respected after some impressive showings, and Gilroy agrees that the Royals are well placed to record a first championship win over Dublin since 2001.
"Meath look like they have improved; how much they have improved I don't know," he said.
"They went fairly well in the championship last year. They have good scoring forwards, they are a strong team, they move the ball fast. I saw them against Laois the last day and they look like a formidable team.
"Even in all of those games (since 2001) there hasn't been much in it any time, so I think Meath-Dublin games are always going to be tight because both teams really want to win. They have their own special spirit."