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City holds its breath

DUBLIN football will hold its breath nervously over the next couple of weeks as Pat Gilroy decides whether he will continue as manager into next year or end his reign on the ultimate high.

The St Vincent's man fulfilled a player/manager role at last night's charity challenge victory over Kilmacud Crokes in Parnell Park but admitted afterwards that he had not yet made up his mind regarding his future intentions.

"This is not the time to be thinking about those things," he told the Herald. "You have to give yourself a bit of space.

"There is an awful lot to be weighed up in terms of family. My three years is up now. If you were going again, you would think it would be another long-term arrangement to be doing it.

Weigh up

"You have got to weigh up the family and the job and we'll do that in the next couple of weeks."

Though his term is technically up, Gilroy could easily take on another three years if he so chooses and the presumption in the capital after last Sunday's historic All-Ireland win was that he would continue.

However, within hours of the success, some well-placed Dublin GAA sources were adamant that Gilroy had already made his mind up to bow out of the game on a high.

"There are people other than me that need to be involved in that decision," Gilroy continued. "Work, in particular, has been very good to me.

"It's a different economic environment we're in now. The same with the family. The kids are growing up. The eldest now is 10 so you have to think the whole thing through and we'll do that in the next couple of weeks."

If he does decide to step away, the Dublin power brokers face a massive challenge in order to make the transition without setting back the team.

Dublin's last All-Ireland success preceded a swift change in management after Pat O'Neill and his selectors stepped down en masse after the 1995 final and it has taken the county 16 years to reclaim Sam Maguire.

Gilroy himself, however, reckons further success can come to the current bunch of medallists, regardless of whether he stays.

"It's a very young team," he acknowledged. "And it's certainly not the end of the journey for that team because that team can go a long way from here. I think it's important that we do take stock and make sure we don't have another 16-year gap again."

Of the celebrations themselves, Gilroy commented: "It's been fantastic. It's been fantastic for everyone in the county. The clubs and the people in schools and the hospitals we went to, the reaction has been amazing.

"The mood has been so bad over the last couple of years that it's just nice to see people with a smile on their faces.

"The main thing is that it is vindication for those players. They have been getting a lot of stick over the years but they never ever shirked it. They never hid. They always went out and did their thing. I think it was great for the players. It was something that was needed," Gilroy concluded.