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Fennell fears Gilroy will quit

DUBLIN midfielder Eamon Fennell admits there is a "big fear" Pat Gilroy will step down as manager, but he urged his St Vincent's club-mate to remain at the helm of the All-Ireland champions.

Gilroy has served his initial three-year term and he has yet to make his intentions for 2012 clear, but Fennell believes Dublin could achieve more if the manager stays.

"The first thing for us now is trying to convince Pat to stay on. It is a big fear that he'll go. Genuinely, I'd love for him to stay on. I have so much respect for him. He's been successful in every part of his life. I've learnt so much from him, and want to continue to learn from him," said Fennell, speaking at the launch of GAA's Charity of the Year 'Playing for Life,' who are sending a host of GAA stars to Ethiopia to help build a sports centre.

"We've lost Mickey (Whelan) already, and we don't want anyone else to go. We'd like to keep it together, and see what else we can do. Definitely there's more in us."

It's been a hectic week for Fennell between appearing on 'The Late, Late Show' and making guest appearances as a DJ around nightclubs in the city. And there was no let-up as he made his first club championship appearance in three years after his transfer from O'Tooles went through, and Fennell said that saga made him savour the success all the more.

"Going into this season I didn't know whether or not I was going to be allowed to play for Dublin. I always tried to put that stuff to the back of my head. I definitely had one or two nights thinking 'what's going to happen...', but Pat was always very reassuring that it would happen."

Fennell played 10 minutes of the final -- he bailed Ger Brennan out of trouble after the centre-back turned a Dublin free-kick into a throw-in. Fennell outmuscled Kieran Donaghy and batted possession to Alan Brogan, who set up the attack that led to Stephen Cluxton's match-winning free.

"Diarmuid Connolly was roaring in my face before (the throw-up), shouting: 'If you don't win this I'm going to kill you', so he put the fear in me. Whoever really wanted that ball more was going to get it. The fear was in me to win it."

And even though there is plenty more celebrating to be done this winter, Fennell's thoughts have already wandered towards next year and making the starting side.

"You couldn't fault the two lads who started (in midfield, Denis Bastick and Michael Darragh Macauley) -- they did nothing wrong all season. If they don't get All Stars I'd be surprised, because they were outstanding.

"Even in the training games I felt I was playing my best football towards the end so it probably came too soon for me in terms of the injury. The lads were incredible. We even had lads like Ross McConnell, who didn't even get on the pitch in the final.

"I'm going to do all the work now in the pre-season -- I had a taste of it and I want to start. There's no point in playing football if you are going to be happy sitting on the bench. I want to start and I am going to do everything to be in the first 15."

Irish Independent