Saturday 17 March 2018

Cahill backs new blood to boost Dublin defence

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

DUBLIN star Barry Cahill has insisted the Sky Blue defence will have to improve dramatically if the Dubs are to bounce back from last year's humiliating All Ireland quarter-final defeat to Kerry.

Pat Gilroy's side conceded 1-24 in that match and Cahill believes the influx of new backs like Kilmacud Crokes quartet Kevin Nolan, Cian O'Sullivan and Rory and Ross O'Carroll will help shore up their leaky defence.

"It's no secret that we have been conceding high scores, particularly in the knock-out games in the All Ireland quarter-finals and semi-finals," he said.

"We have to improve on that end. A lot of good defenders have come into the squad this year so that should be healthy competition on the back-line and that's one area we have to improve on this year," said Cahill.

He was speaking at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the famed St Declan's secondary school in Cabra, where the likes of Cahill, Alan and Bernard Brogan and Dublin hurlers Peader and Michael Carton spent their formative years.

As part of the celebrations, the current Dublin senior football and hurling teams will line out against teams made up of St Declan's past pupils on Thursday night in the St Brigid's club. However, Cahill will be unable to take part as he continues his recovery from a groin injury, but he has set the clash with Mayo in Castlebar on March 7 as the target for his return.

Dublin are currently training twice a day during the week and Cahill believes the idea behind the early morning sessions is to help build some mental toughness.

"I think that's the angle. I don't think you are going to get quality work done on a Tuesday or Thursday morning I think it has more to do with the mental side of things.

"We were training last Tuesday and there was something like 50 people there. And hearing what Pat has to say he is definitely keen to freshen up the squad by bringing in up to 10 or 15 new players.

"Last year the panel was about 35 so you are looking at 10 lads from that squad at least not being there this year."

Irish Independent

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