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Giller plays down gruelling training sessions

THEY'VE acquired the sort of infamy last acquired by Kamp Staaldraad - the torturous training camp endured by South Africa's rugby union team prior to the 2003 World Cup - but Pat Gilroy insists his pre-dawn January sessions are "no big deal".

The Dubs' early morning training has attracted widespread fascination from both inside and outside the capital's borders, interest which has mushroomed since his All-Ireland winners were called out of their beds for the even earlier start time of 5.30am.

"It's only for a couple of weeks while we get back into it," the Dublin manager explained.

"It means they're not out every night of the week and lads appreciate that. It means they're as fresh as can be afterwards.

"It means they can get a lot of work done afterwards and a lot of them are studying, so it suits them.

"There's a bit of it that just suits the lifestyle they have because it means they can go studying all day and they're not out each evening.

"They're not getting drained and they're fresh each morning -- that's part of why we do it in January.

"You have to be totally committed to it if you are going to get up at half five in the morning.

"There are loads of people do it -- swimmers do it all the time and others, so it's no big deal really."

Asked whether there was any resistance to the early slog, Gilroy was emphatic: "Not at all -- it was completely the opposite. Lads were chomping at the bit to get back out," he said. "The weather wasn't too bad and maybe that helps, but there has been great enthusiasm shown."

Bryan Cullen -- whose last meaningful act as a Dublin player was lifting the Sam Maguire back in September -- supported his manager's view of the programme.

"We just get on with it," he stressed. "We would feel if you put the work in, the rewards are there. So we just do what's asked of us."

Dublin's next outing is against a UCD team containing Dublin's All-Ireland winning full-back, Rory O'Carroll, and senior panellist, Craig Dias, in their Bord na Móna O'Byrne Cup quarter-final under lights in Parnell Park this coming Saturday (7.45).

The rest of the O'Byrne Cup quarter-final head-to-heads will see Meath host Louth, DCU face Longford and Kildare play Offaly. In the O'Byrne Shield Wicklow face Athlone IT, DIT will play Westmeath and Carlow host Laois.