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Gilroy backs Keaney decision

DUBLIN football boss Pat Gilroy believes that Conal Keaney made the "right decision" to throw his lot in with the county's hurlers, but admitted he was open to letting the Ballyboden, St Enda's man attempt to play both codes.

Gilroy was speaking after Dublin's surprise O'Byrne Cup defeat to Westmeath in Mullingar on Tuesday, where a late revival wasn't enough to reel in Pat Flanagan's side who prevailed thanks to a late Paul Greville free.

"With Conal, knowing him so well, it's the right decision and it's what he really wants to do at the moment," Gilroy said. "If your head is there, then that's the right thing to do. I genuinely hope that he really does make a difference for them because he's a talented hurler.

"I don't think (playing both codes) would have suited -- but I think both management teams would have been happy for him to have a go at it. I have said it before, if someone can physically do it, then it's fine. But I think his personal situation -- he's got to work -- is the main reason he wouldn't entertain it."

Despite the defeat, Gilroy was pleased with the showing of some of his fringe players, who had trained at 6.30 on the morning of the game.

"When you're down 30 players and you're seeing guys only for the first time last Saturday and you're playing in those type of conditions, it wasn't the most appealing at half-time, but in fairness to them, they dug in and should have got a draw in the end.

"When Graham (Cullen) came on he did well. I thought, to be fair, Darragh Nelson -- who's fairly new to us -- did very well in the game and Darren Daly was solid enough," he said.

"Sean Murray was good, particularly in the second half and a lot of the new guys did well -- even Colm Murray, who was ploughing a bit of a lonely furrow in midfield in the first half, he caught a few balls and was very tired by half-time.

"It was encouraging from that point of view.

"It does show you what fellas have the appetite for it. You have to get mentally right to play in that kind of game and when you're down as much as we were, you have to go at it.

"That was encouraging -- particularly for the new lads because they tried hard."

Irish Independent