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A change of mindset was vital: Gilroy

CORDUFF is perhaps an unlikely birthplace for a Dublin All-Ireland win but that patch of land in Co Monaghan was, apparently, where the foundations for yesterday's success were laid.

It was November of 2009 and Pat Gilroy and his team were still shaking profusely from being torn asunder by Kerry in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

Now, Gilroy is sick to his back teeth of answering questions about that defeat but he fielded potentially the last bout of them yesterday.

"We addressed 2009 in November 2009 in a very strong way," he revealed after the match.

"We dealt with it and it stayed there. I'm glad now we can really put it behind us but we did deal with it in Corduff.

"There was a development squad game where a lot of the guys came up as well. We played Monaghan under the lights in the rain. A lot of it was dealt with there and then and that was the best place for it."

He might well have drawn a line under the loss in his own head but as the Dublin manager found out in the 23 months since then, the rest of the universe hadn't yet turned the page.

The sheer scale of the humbling left everyone to ponder how Dublin would recover and the insinuations were that that fateful afternoon was the clearest window through which Dublin's shortcomings were visible.

They were blown apart by a Kerry team supposedly on their last legs. Defensively, Dublin were a shambles and the naysayers whispered that whatever mental frailties the Boys in Blue possessed previously, were now gone beyond the point of no return.

Where, in particular, could Gilroy start? "The defence," he revealed, somewhat unsurprisingly. "Simply the defence and our mindset.


"We've done an awful lot of work on our mindset. We've got huge benefit out of doing things a certain way. Some people who know a lot about the mind have been really helpful, they've done exceptional stuff with us to be honest and we'd be very grateful to them."

Gilroy's match management, too, has shown him to be a shrewder judge of football than many suspected.

Yesterday, he took the cliché 'impact sub' to a whole new extreme by unleashing Kevin McManamon at an unsuspecting Kerry defence with 20 minutes to go.

"We felt that maybe running at Kerry in the last 20 minutes might yield some dividends and we had some guys on the bench that could do that," Gilroy explained. "Kevin was obviously one of those. That was the type of game where he could come in and do a particular job. We had ideas in our head and certain things were working in training and to be honest Kevin has been in fantastic form but we did feel that we needed to have game changers on the sideline.

"I felt that we would always create the chances. Even when there was only three minutes left I felt that we would create the goal chances with the guys we had on the pitch at that stage.

"We always felt irrespective of the score that we were going to finish this game out and we would see if we came out the wrong side of it.

"That worked out to perfection."

Mickey Whelan, the man who helped mastermind the win, has been side-by-side with Gilroy right through the journey and as a life-long friend of his St Vincent's clubmate, he said he was never in doubt as to his capabilities.

"He's an incredible manager," gushed Whelan. "He's the first manager in 16 years to win an All-Ireland with Dublin. And he has done it very well. There was a lot of criticism when he took over but it's the same as a player, if you're good enough, you're old enough."

At the full-time whistle, the two embraced under the weight of relief and euphoria.

"There is great emotion when you put so much time into something," Gilroy admitted. "It was great to get it, you know.

"It was great to do it that way. When you don't have to protect a lead for more than seven seconds it's fantastic..."

And with that, Gilroy left the media room and went off to celebrate a truly remarkable All-Ireland success for Dublin, content in the knowledge that, just like Sinatra, he had done it his way.