Monday 22 January 2018

Gilroy goes on offensive over criticismof Dubs' defensive tendencies


THEY may have got it in the neck this week for their strong defensive bent this season, but Dublin football boss Pat Gilroy indicated yesterday that his side won't be drastically switching their style or tactics against Galway tonight.

His side scored only twice (1-1) in the second-half against Cork last weekend but Gilroy insisted yesterday that the Dubs' first loss in the NFL wasn't caused by being too defensive-minded.

"If you concede 2-8 in the first half it's hard to be criticised for playing too defensively," he argued. "It wasn't like we had an absolute disaster, there were some positives for us.

"We created four decent goal chances in the second-half. OK, we only took one, but we did create clear goal chances."

And Gilroy insisted that it was the Dubs' defensive work that let them down most last week. "In the first half we were far too open," he said.

"It's not about dropping back, it's about tracking people and we had runners coming from all over the place.

"Cork's two goals came off fellas running from deep and we just weren't tracking them so I think our problem with that game was not in attack," he insisted.

"When you concede 2-8 in one half, you've no chance of winning a game."

Gilroy's willingness to give youth its fling in this year's league has also come under some scrutiny in the wake of their seven-point defeat by Cork and he has noticeably brought in three experienced men -- Stephen Cluxton, Barry Cahill and Kevin Bonner -- for tonight's clash in Parnell Park.

They replace Michael Savage, Ger Brennan (injured) and Michael McAuley respectively.

Cahill's return marks his first game of the season after recovering from a shoulder injury.

Gilroy admitted he has been forced to bring the former All Star defender back earlier than he would have liked.

"Ger Brennan twisted his ankle the other night so he wasn't available to play," he explained.

"We're getting lower on resources in the half-back line so it's great to have Barry back.

"Ideally we wouldn't like to be having to play him yet because he hasn't had that much training behind him but he's an experienced guy and hopefully will be OK for this game."

Rory O'Carroll returns from his U-21 commitments to replace Michael Fitzsimons at full-back but apart from Bonner's inclusion Dublin's forwards are unchanged, even though Gilroy indicated he wants a better work-rate from his half-forward line.

Mossy Quinn is due back for his club side St Vincent's this weekend but, despite getting some game time with Plunketts recently, Alan Brogan is also not yet ready to make the Dubs' bench, which still leaves them short of some key attackers.

Victory this weekend could leave Dublin in pole position for one of the Division 1 final spots, despite facing Tyrone in the last round.

But Gilroy insisted that making the league final is not his priority as he continues to develop a new-look team which he believes is still very much a 'work in progress'.

"It's not about league finals, it's about getting a bit of consistency in ourselves and even though we had a bit of a dip last week there were some positives for us," he stressed.

"I've said it all along that there's a gap between us and the top four teams. I feel that we've closed the gap and found ways to close it during the league.

"The two teams that have beaten us in the last couple of years was by 13 and 17 points and I don't think that's going to happen to us again.

"I'd rather what happened last weekend happened now than in the middle of the summer," Gilroy added.

"At least with that game we were still in with a chance with 10 minutes to go, we were only four points down. We clung on a lot better than we did last year when we had those collapses, so that was encouraging."

Irish Independent

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