IN ALL his dealings with the press, Pat Gilroy has always come across as an eminently logical man but, for once, he's hoping to turn sporting logic on its head at GAA headquarters today.
All season, the Sky Blue boss has cautioned that his radically revamped team are a step below the elite likes of Kerry, Tyrone and Cork.
But now, at last, Gilroy will get to see whether they have bridged the gap and banished the memory of those quarter-final meltdown defeats by Tyrone (by 12 points in 2008) and Kerry (by 17 points last August).
Tyrone are the ultimate litmus test. "You look in their dressing-room and you see the amount of All-Ireland medals, and we haven't got any in ours. Logic would say Tyrone should win this game, given their track record," the Dublin boss conceded at yesterday's press conference in DCU.
"But sport is a funny thing and anything can happen on the day. From our point of view, we're going to give this a good go and see how far we've come. If we're in a position to win the game, we're certainly going to try and do that."
Asked what would constitute progress this year, Gilroy quipped that "anything better" than those '08 and '09 quarter-finals would be an improvement.
But on a more serious note, he added: "Realistically, you'd hope that it would be a lot closer than that. And, you know, in sport you never know ... if we're there in the last 15 minutes, I think we'll have a fair chance of winning the game.
"It is an uphill challenge for us, but we are probably in better shape coming into this match than we were coming into the (Kerry) match last year, because of the amount of games we have got."
Another positive, he contends, is the team's relative youth. Fresh legs are needed for the game-plan; and younger minds aren't scarred by past failures.
"The type of game we're trying to play requires a huge fitness level, and younger guys are well able to do it. So I think that's one of the big advantages," Gilroy declared.
"And I suppose they play with a freedom as well," he maintained. "Fellas that were seven or eight years (playing for Dublin), there was an expectation that they were just going to win an All-Ireland, and I think that maybe did weigh down a bit heavy, whereas there isn't that expectation on these guys."
Dublin's manager also happily embraced that all-too-rare underdog status as "not a bad thing for us" but he disputed the notion that Tyrone haven't been seriously road-tested in Ulster.
He also warned against reading anything into Dublin's six-point league victory up in Omagh. "Everything went right for us that day in the first half," Gilroy pointed out.
"We had 12 shots and scored 2-10 -- we certainly haven't been doing that in the championship," Gilroy pointed out.
"I don't think there's any comparison with the (Tyrone) team that played against Monaghan.
"It's the same people but they're playing completely differently. They look a lot sharper and a lot fitter than they were in April.
"I don't think it's that relevant. The league form has been shown already ... Mayo got to the league final and they were beaten by Longford."
His message for Dublin is simple -- marry the intensity of their Armagh performance with some of the better attacking moves displayed against Louth. Then maybe, just maybe.
"The last day against Louth was unusual in that we certainly didn't expect to be ahead, as far as we were, early on so maybe some of our intensity dropped in the second half.
"And if we drop our intensity at all in this game, we'll be sitting ducks.
"I think a mix of the two games (Armagh and Louth) and maybe taking it up another level will give us a fighting chance."