FEARS grew today that Pat Gilroy may be about to step down as Dublin football manager.
After masterminding the capital's first All-Ireland success in 16 years, Gilroy is understood to be comtemplating his future.
Rumours abound that the St Vincent's man may follow in the footsteps of Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy and relinquish his managerial role following All-Ireland success.
Dublin's last All-Ireland winning manager Pat O'Neill retired following the success in 1995 and Dublin fans fear Gilroy's departure may result in years of disappointment as O'Neill's did.
But County board chairman Andy Kettle is hopeful that Gilroy will remain at the helm but no discussions have taken place as of yet.
"You would be hopeful," he told the Herald. "But you would give Pat space at the moment. He has four young children. He has spent a lot of time away from them. We have to let him work out what he wants to do himself.
"There hasn't been any talk or any discussions about the future. What we're planning now is what we're going to do with the cup over the next couple of months.
"You would say the job is his if he wanted it. Again, obviously there would be talking to do be done."
Kettle believes that Gilroy would be interested in continuing the work he began in October 2008.
"Pat has invested an awful lot in these guys. And like many people, I think he sees it as the beginning rather than the end. I'm sure he would like to have a part in continuing the process.
"Anybody who has worked this hard to get a group of guys to where they are would probably find it hard to just walk away. And there is a lot of young talent coming through.
"It's a huge commitment. And in Pat's case, it's purely voluntary. Yes, there is a great love of the county and the football.
"But you have to just give it space and then we will sit down and talk." Gilroy has been juggling his role as Dublin coach with his job as managing director of Dalkia over the past three years.
Kettle believes that Gilroy's influence on the Dublin set-up has been immense since taking over.
"He changed the whole mindset. He changed the whole way that the team played. And he got a lot of stick for it early on," he added. "But he's a very determined character."