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Gilroy hits out at 'crazy' schedule

DUBLIN's James McCarthy could face eight highly-competitive matches in just over two weeks -- a situation Dubs manager Pat Gilroy describes as "crazy."

Centre-back McCarthy (20) is at the age most susceptible to burnout due to club, college, county U-21 and county senior commitments, and is a prime example of the lack of cohesion in the GAA fixture-making bodies.

The Ballymun Kickhams man is not the only player in the situation, but his match commitments underline the need for some new thinking on the issue. Mind you, McCarthy (pictured) isn't complaining. "I'm young, I can take it," is his view as he relishes league fare with Dublin, and the chance of a Sigerson Cup medal with DCU.

However, should a player be put in this situation?

"Absolutely not," is Pat Gilroy's view, and Dublin wing-forward Paul Flynn, who also plays in the Sigerson with DCU, has strong reservations about the scheduling of the colleges competition.

The fixtures for the centenary staging of the Sigerson at UCD next week calls for a quarter-final on Thursday, semi-final on Friday and a final on Saturday.

Gilroy commented: "James played Sigerson last Thursday, he played with us (v Cork) on Saturday, he played with the 21s (v Meath) on Wednesday, he'll play with us (v Kerry) on Saturday.

"Maybe if he's a lunatic he'll play a club league game on Sunday and then he has three games next week if he gets to the Sigerson final."

Flynn dubbed the three matches in three days as 'outrageous' for any team which gets to the final.

"Why they changed it back I don't know. Two days was strenuous enough, it was hard enough on the body -- or even if they had gone Thursday, Friday Sunday.

"But anyway, we just have to get on with it now. We're all fit. There's no point whining about it... Once you get through it without any injuries, you're happy enough," he said.

Gilroy, McCarthy and Flynn were speaking at yesterday's media conference at which the Dublin manager named an unchanged team for duty against Kerry at Croke Park tonight.

Michael Darragh Macauley was selected against Cork last Saturday, but suffered a bizarre food blockage in his throat that forced him to withdraw. A minor surgical procedure was needed to clear the blockage and Macauley was back training this week.

Barry Cahill, who replaced the stricken Macauley in the starting line-up for the Cork game retains his place at midfield against Kerry. "It will be another hard match. Kerry will have trained that bit longer than Cork did, and it looks like they have a very strong team," said Gilroy.

Flynn is satisfied that the memories of the All-Ireland quarter-final horror show against Kerry two years ago have been put to bed by the away league win last year.

"We've got a new bunch of lads now. Even the Kerry team has a good few new lads as well. That league win was a big game for us because we swept that other game completely under the mat. Now, we're concentrating on the future," said Flynn.

Dublin (v Kerry) -- S Cluxton; A Hubbard, S Murray, M Fitzsimons; D Lally, J McCarthy, P Casey; D Bastick, B Cahill; P Flynn, K McManamon, D Connolly; T Quinn, E O'Gara, B Brogan.

Irish Independent