Wednesday 15 August 2018

Gilroy's Dublin young guns loaded with potential, insists Keaney

Dublin manager Pat Gilroy. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin manager Pat Gilroy. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Dublin hurler Conal Keaney insists they are on the right road despite an indifferent league that saw them beat Laois and Antrim in Division 1B.

Keaney points to the promising opening quarter against Tipperary in the NHL quarter-final, where they led by eight points at one stage, as evidence of how good Pat Gilroy's team can be.

But the 35-year-old also insists that match is an example of where they need to improve.

"If you look at the first 20 minutes against Tipperary, it showed that all the players are able to play and to the system we want to play," he stated.

"But as soon as we stopped doing it, as soon as we stopped working hard and stopped tackling that what happens," he said of Tipp's fightback that eventually saw them run out handsome winners.

"We got to that stage at seven-eight points up and we reverted back to the old style with people doing their own thing; bad handpasses and giving away silly frees and letting Tipperary back in.

"Then they get a goal and you are under pressure. It shows the potential is there and if we could get it right you never know what could happen."

sample "Even that small sample against Tipperary shows that it does work, and even at times against other teams, we had small windows that showed that if we work really hard as) a unit and stick to what works for us, I think we can beat anyone. But if we don't, if we go away from it, that's exactly what happens."

Keaney grabbed three points that day as he continues to feel his way back into inter-county hurling following a recall from Gilroy. The Ballyboden St Enda's man insists that once Gilroy rang him he was always going to take the chance after walking away from the panel two years ago when Ger Cunningham was in charge.

"Any time you get a chance to come back and play with Dublin anyone would take it," said Keaney, who made his championship bow for the county's hurlers in 2001, just a few weeks before sitting his Leaving Cert.

"I just had to make sure I was able to do it and the body would let me do it and if I was still good enough and all those questions.

"So I came back and I had nothing to lose. If it wasn't working out it wasn't working out, and Pat would tell me or I'd find out myself so there was no pressure. If it wasn't to be, it wasn't to be.

"And who knows, championship will tell if it was the right decision but I'm enjoying it."

Irish Independent

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