Time for Gilroy to decide
Manager's future hinges on meeting with County Board officials this week
PAT GILROY'S future as Dublin football manager will be decided before the County Board meet next Monday night.
Dublin chairman Andy Kettle revealed yesterday that county board officials will be talking to Gilroy this week to ascertain if he is willing to continue in the demanding role.
A management committee meeting prior to a gathering of the full County Board next Monday will then either recommend that Gilroy be given a new term or open a process to find a replacement.
There has been rising confidence in Dublin football circles that Gilroy will commit himself to another term at the helm, but so far the St Vincent's clubman has diplomatically kept his cards close to his chest.
"We really have to have a 'yes' or 'no' from Pat when we speak to him this week because there is a time issue. Obviously we hope he gives us a 'yes', but if it's 'no' we would have to set a process in motion quickly because, if there is a vacancy, it could potentially have a knock-on effect on our U-21 management. Preparations for that competition get under way early in the new year," said Kettle.
Jim Gavin is the current U-21 manager and, having guided Dublin to the All-Ireland title in that grade in 2010, he would be a strong contender to succeed Gilroy if a vacancy was to arise. Gavin was close to succeeding Paul Caffrey in 2008 before Gilroy entered the race.
In the aftermath of Dublin's All-Ireland final triumph against Kerry, Gilroy stressed that he would have to speak to his employers, Dalkia, as well as the players and county board officials before making a decision about his future. He met with the players four weeks ago and after that meeting there was general optimism that Gilroy would oversee Dublin's defence of their All-Ireland crown provided that any outstanding issues with the county board and in relation to work were cleared up.
"Next Monday will tell the tale," said Kettle. "I don't think there is anything that can't be agreed."
It's understood that Gilroy wants more rounds of the county's club championship to be played between the end of the Allianz League and the start of their All-Ireland campaign.
The County Board are unlikely to have any problem agreeing to that given that they have committed to an overhaul of their internal fixtures programme as part of an agreement reached with the Leinster Council to push back the start of the Leinster provincial club football championship by three weeks.
The Dublin final between neighbours St Brigid's and St Oliver Plunkett's Eoghan Ruadh will be played on Sunday and the winners will face Meath champions Summerhill the following Sunday.
If Gilroy agrees to stay on, his first task will be to convince Mickey Whelan ro remain on board as coach.
Whelan announced that he was stepping down just days after the All-Ireland final, but he would find it difficult to stick to that decision if Gilroy commits himself to the task of keepingthe Sam Maguire in Dublin.