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Whelan's exit hints at the end for Giller

SPECULATION about the Sky Blue future of Pat Gilroy is sure to intensify in the wake of Mickey Whelan's announcement that he's quitting the management team of All-Ireland champions Dublin.

Gilroy intimated on Wednesday night that he'll reach a decision in the next couple of weeks. The news that Whelan is to walk away will inevitably fuel the belief in some Dublin quarters that the manager, too, will bow out on an All-Ireland high instead of seeking back-to-back titles for the capital.

It's not just the St Vincent's connection; Whelan played an absolutely central role in their return to the summit. As coach, he had a major role in transforming Dublin's method of play and the defensive system that made them so much harder to beat over the past two years.

This culminated in Sunday's All-Ireland final, when a vaunted Kerry attack was confined to 1-11 -- but that famous victory was also, it seems, the culmination of Whelan's three-year stint.


"I'm gone. It's time for me to go," he revealed.

"It's a good way to finish. There are a lot of people that'd like to be involved and I don't want to stand in their way.

"I definitely don't think I should be taking anything from someone else. I'm 72 now and if there's a young man that wants to come on and is keen to do it, that's great," he added.

For Whelan, a former All-Ireland winning player and coach noted for his innovative approach, Sunday's scene of ecstasy was the perfect antidote to the image of how his own reign as Dublin manager ended almost 14 years earlier.

"I need a bit of space. Maybe I'll take another team at St Vincent's some time. But I can't expect just to walk in and do it. I'm sure I'll stay involved in football at some level," he said.

But he declined to speculate on what happens next concerning his Vincent's clubmate and friend.

"I couldn't say what Pat will do. That is a personal thing for him. He has young kids and he's a great father. Whatever decision Pat makes, I'll be behind him," he said.