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Gilroy keeping calm in search for consistency

IF nothing else, last Sunday's match in Killarney did at least do something to redress the balance pertaining to Dublin's away day blues. Winning on the road is not something for which the Dubs are noted, even more so when Kerry are the opposition.

Yet the challenge now for Pat Gilroy and his men is to fix another glaring glitch in Dublin's armoury -- the ability to tie together strong league performances.

Gilroy's first year was blighted with such inconsistencies. A good performance against Tyrone -- albeit one which ended in defeat -- was followed by an eight-point hammering in Galway.

Dublin's encore from a battling win against Donegal in Ballyshannon was a five-point loss to tomorrow's opposition, Derry, in Parnell Park.

"Last year we won one on the road, drew one and lost the other so that wasn't a bad record on the road either," Gilroy pointed out yesterday.

"In many ways, actually, being on the road makes it a lot easier because you have guys the whole day beforehand and it is maybe a bit easier to get focused than when you are playing in Parnell Park and just meeting guys on the day.

"There's nobody getting carried away with themselves but you obviously feel a bit better about yourself than if you had lost. It's a very grounded bunch of fellas who played last Sunday and there was nobody pulling up in training this week or anything like that.


"People worked really hard, that's what we need to keep doing. We know we are a long way off the top teams in the summer time and we have a lot of work to do to close that gap."

Gilroy is, though, aware that a win tomorrow would represent a seriously encouraging start to the league for Dublin.

He faces a three-week break until the trip to Castlebar to play Mayo on March 7 before leading his team out again and with the likes of Alan Brogan, Barry Cahill, Conal Keaney and Ger Brennan expected to be back fit and in contention by then, a further two points tomorrow night would leave Dublin in an ideal spot.

"We really emptied the tank last Sunday and we trained hard this week as well so we are expecting fellas to pick it up," explained Gilroy. "But if they don't pick it up quite to the same level, it is understandable.

"But again we wouldn't expect anything like the dips we had in the games last year."

Added to that, the cliché of there being no easy games in Division 1 is perhaps even more applicable to Dublin. Aside from last year's destruction of Westmeath in Parnell Park, the Dubs rarely meet anything less than fully determined opposition in the league and it's something the manager has noted.

"Well it would appear to me, and I'm only involved for 14 months now, when we play anybody they seem to lift their game," Gilroy said. "I think teams want to beat us every time they play us. I think just the fact that teams are playing Dublin, they do want to beat us."