Sport Gaelic Football

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Gilroy warns Dubs on discipline ahead of championship opener

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

DUBLIN boss Pat Gilroy has forced his players to practise playing with just 14 men to try to teach them some harsh disciplinary lessons before they begin their All-Ireland title defence against Louth tomorrow.

The Sky Blues' disciplinary record repeatedly came under the microscope this season after having players sent off in a succession of league matches and Gilroy has taken drastic measures to solve the problem before the meat of the season.

"We have had (practice) games where we have decided to let some teams play without a man for 60 minutes and see what that feels like," he admitted. "It doesn't feel great in the heat!

"It's up to us to deal with it," he stressed. "If you were looking at our record during the league you'd say 'yeah, you can rile these guys, get fellas yellow and red cards.' I'm sure the opposition are going to think that."

Yet the Dublin manager denied that the All-Ireland champs have been deliberately targeted or goaded by opponents, insisting their disciplinary problems were largely their own fault.

"People weren't particularly physical with us that would warrant us having disciplinary issues," he said.

"It was more frustration with our own play and fellas lashing out after bad mistakes. When we were going well we didn't have any issues.

"I think it was probably the frustration of trying new stuff, which wasn't coming off because we hadn't got our intensity (right). We weren't playing particularly well and I think it was frustration that spilled over."

He said Dublin have been forced to come up with some new tactics this year to try to outwit everyone who has studied their 2011 form and that those experiments sometimes took from their intensity during the league.

Only three counties have succeeded in retaining the All-Ireland SFC in the last 25 years -- Meath, Cork and Kerry -- and the champions begin their bid to join them in the second game of tomorrow's double-header in Croke Park with an unusual 4.30 throw-in.

"Sometimes in January you are questioning your sanity doing all that work but this is what you wait for, the end of the shadow-boxing, and it will be great to get out in Croke Park again," Gilroy said.

Gaelic Games Special

Pages 69-75

Irish Independent

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