Wednesday 21 March 2018

Dub legends back Gilroy's men to pull off Rebels shock

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

DUBLIN'S turnaround this season has caught everyone by surprise, including former players John O'Leary and Kieran Duff.

O'Leary enjoyed famous victories over Cork in 1983 and 1995, and Duff played in the '83 success, and the pair give the current squad every chance of causing an upset when they face Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final in Croke Park on Sunday.

"In 1995 we were chasing the Holy Grail, but we were up against Cork, who were a new opposition for us," O'Leary said.

"It was all about Jason Sherlock on the day because he was the one who scored the goal and he was the star coming through. It wasn't so much like 1983 with the trip to Cork, but it was still great to win it.


"It (1995) was a tight match. It finished 1-12 to 0-12 and Jason's goal came at a crucial stage.

"He really came of age for us -- he wasn't all that long on the squad."

Dublin enter Sunday's clash as outsiders to progress to the final and All-Ireland winning captain O'Leary believes that the Sky Blues have nothing to lose against Conor Counihan's men.

"Dublin can just give it a go. They have nothing to lose and there are no expectations on them. No one expected them to be here at the start of the year, or even two games ago, and yet here they are. Anything can happen," he added.

Duff was involved with the Dublin set-up under Paul Caffrey, but he backed Pat Gilroy's decision to leave out some of their more experienced players.

"There has been a complete revamp of the team and new personnel have come in, which, in fairness, Pat had to do," said the Vodafone ambassador.

"We were involved with Pillar for four years and just missed the boat on a couple of occasions. We just didn't have whatever it was, whether it was a psychological thing, to cross that line. I think Pillar would feel himself that we went as far as we could with that group of players."

Cork have yet to play to their full potential this season and O'Leary expects a big performance from the Leesiders.

"Cork haven't had the big performance yet. Maybe it's coming on Sunday. Is there a big performance in Cork? There probably is. The good thing for Dublin is that the cat is out of the bag -- it's no surprise now that they can beat some good opposition.

"But there's no doubt it's bonus territory. I go back to the Wexford match. If I was the Wexford manager I'd be pulling my hair out because Dublin were there to be beaten.

"Even with Tipperary there were times when with a bit more savvy they could have opened Dublin up for a few more points, because the game was there to be won. So, it's definitely bonus territory."

Irish Independent

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