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Sherlock blames Gilroy tactics for Dubs' failure to retain title

DUBLIN hero Jason Sherlock insists Pat Gilroy's men got their tactics wrong when they surrendered their All-Ireland crown to Mayo at the semi-final stage.

The 1995 Sam Maguire winner pinpointed the failure to deal with the injury to Alan Brogan and the deployment of Michael Darragh Macauley away from his regular centre-field berth as examples of where Dublin's management miscalculated.

"The fact that Pat has since departed the scene, people haven't really asked why it went wrong. People question hunger and commitment, but they showed great drive in the second half. You'd just have to question how they got in that position in the first half," Sherlock said.

"They never really addressed the Alan Brogan situation in terms of that position. I felt they played the best midfielder (Macauley) in the last couple of years at centre-forward, and it wasn't until he came out of that position that they got going (against Mayo).

"(Alan) is an exceptional player, but that wasn't something that happened overnight. They played two and a half games without him and I felt they never addressed it.

"As a forward you are only as good as the supply coming in and Diarmuid (Connolly) and Bernard (Brogan) were quite isolated.

"In fairness to (Ciaran) Kilkenny, he tried to come in and be that link man. I feel tactically we could have done better and that could have made a big difference."

Sherlock, whose inter-county career was ended by Gilroy, praised the St Vincent's man but agreed it was time for him to move on.

"Pat's been great for Dublin and has done an awful lot right. Dublin are in a much better position," he said.

"After the All-Ireland last year I felt Pat needed to say if Dublin had any chance of retaining it. We needed that continuity, keeping in mind 1995 and '96 when Pat was there. This time is the right time (to go).

"I didn't get a sense of people saying, 'we were so close, come back and give it one more year'. There was an inevitability about it."

Jim Gavin is hotly tipped to replace Gilroy, having managed the county's U-21 side to two All-Ireland titles, and Sherlock sees his former team-mate as the right man for the job.

"Jim was always grounded, first and foremost. He was a guy you loved to be in the trenches with.

"Jim has served his time as U-21 manager and has done really well. I'd like to think that while Pat's (appointment) came out of the blue, there won't be anything like that this time. It's Jim's job to turn down and rightly so."

Irish Independent