Sport Gaelic Football

Sunday 17 December 2017

Gilroy admires Harte approach to team Tyrone

Paddy Hickey

DUBLIN football boss Pat Gilroy has allayed fears about the fitness of two-goal hero Eoghan O'Gara for today's All-Ireland quarter-final against Tyrone at Croke Park.

O'Gara, who notched his crucial brace in last Saturday's win over Louth, was unable to train on Tuesday night, prompting concerns over his availability for the showdown against the Red Hands.

"Eoghan is fine, he'll definitely start against Tyrone," said Gilroy at yesterday's pre-match media briefing.

The Dublin manager also stressed that midfielders Ross McConnell and Michael Darragh Macauley, who picked up knocks against the Wee County, would figure in an unchanged line-up from last Saturday.

Gilroy added that defender Cian O'Sullivan and midfielder Eamon Fennell, who were not considered for the starting 15 after returning from injury, could figure at some stage.

"Cian and Eamon wouldn't be ready for 70 minutes yet, but we would have no hesitation in bringing them on during the match," he pointed out.

It's Gilroy's first championship confrontation with managerial guru Harte and yesterday he left the media no doubt about his admiration for the long-serving Tyrone supremo.


"He took on a county that hadn't won an All-Ireland and now they have won three," remarked Gilroy.

"It's a fair achievement and he's also won minor and U-21 All-Irelands.

"He's certainly one of the outstanding managers in the game -- there's no question about it.

"I think that Tyrone's work ethic has been the best of any team in the country over the last seven to eight years. And certainly we would be trying to match that level of intensity in our own game.

"It doesn't affect Tyrone whether they are missing players or not. They certainly play as a team.

"Every team they put out, they can slot in players left, right and centre. They stick with that, and he (Harte) seems to get a very united group all the time when they go out."

Of course, Gilroy had the edge over the Errigal Ciaran clubman when the two counties clashed in the league last April, at Omagh. The Dubs had six points to spare, and so consigned Harte's troops to Division 2.

But the Dublin manager argues that the Healy Park result will have minimal bearing on today's battle.

"If you look at Tyrone as they played through the league, they were an evolving team, they were changing a lot," he explained.

"But they've been a much better team in the championship, I don't think there's been any comparison between the team that faced Monaghan (in the Ulster final).

"It's the same people, but the way they're playing is completely different, they look a lot sharper and a lot fitter than they were in April (against Dublin). Everything went right for us in that first half. I think we had 12 shots, and we scored 2-10. We certainly haven't been doing that in the championship, and it was one of those days.

"We were delighted with it, but the championship is a different type of game and you're just not going to get that type of space."

Unexpectedly, Gilroy concedes that the Ulster champions deserve the favourites' tag.

"Logic would say that when you look at their (Tyrone) dressing-room, and see the amount of All-Ireland medals they've won, and we haven't had any in our dressing-room, Tyrone should win this game given their track record over the last number of years.

"But sport is a funny thing and anything can happen on the day.

"So, from our point of view, we're going to give this a good go.

"But we can't allow our intensity to drop like we did for part of the Louth game."

DUBLIN (SF v Tyrone) -- S Cluxton; M Fitzsimons, R O'Carroll, P McMahon; K Nolan, G Brennan, B Cahill; MD Macauley, R McConnell; N Corkery, A Brogan, B Cullen; D Henry, E O'Gara, B Brogan.

Irish Independent

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