Wednesday 24 January 2018

'I won't be talking to anyone behind Jim Gavin's back' - Pat Gilroy

New Dublin hurling boss Pat Gilroy wants good relationship with football management

Pat Gilroy: “It’s hard to say no to things when you’re asked.” Photo: Sportsfile
Pat Gilroy: “It’s hard to say no to things when you’re asked.” Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Pat Gilroy has promised a friction-free future relationship with the Dublin football management with the capital's new hurling boss indicating that there will be no pressure on players with potential dual interest.

Diarmuid Connolly has already indicated that he won't be trading places despite his relationship with St Vincent's club-mate Gilroy while former underage players like Ciarán Kilkenny, Cormac Costello and Eric Lowndes will also be out of reach, it appears.

But out the back end of Jim Gavin's football squad Gilroy has acknowledged that there may be fertile ground.

Gilroy will finalise his backroom team by the weekend - former Galway manager Anthony Cunningham looks set to be involved - and has set an ambitious target for Dublin to consistently be a top four side. But that will have to be achieved without the help of some of the game's best-known footballers.

"I have a very good relationship with Jim Gavin, I have a very good relationship with football, I don't intend to mess up football by doing something like trying to negotiate guys into doing something that maybe they don't even want to do," said Gilroy, who was speaking in Croke Park at the launch of the Fenway AIG hurling classic which will take place between Dublin, Galway, Tipperary and Clare in Boston on November 19.

Balance

"I see it that we have two Dublin teams, one plays hurling, one plays football, the relationship should be a good relationship," he pointed out. He feels Dublin can model the approach taken by Cork. "I think Cork manage to do that (strike a balance) quite well. There's a lot of open discussion between managers so I won't be going talking to anyone behind Jim's back or anything like that.

"There might be guys at the end of his panel that he's looking to move on and they might be interested in hurling. But I only want guys who really want to hurl. I'm open to a dual guy if some fella can miraculously do it when you produce the fixtures but I just want people who really, really want to play for Dublin hurling. And they can come from anywhere as far as I'm concerned."

Gilroy feels some of those being touted publicly as being open to change are not stand-out players on the club circuit and too much may be made of them. "If you watch the club championship and you see guys like that playing, they're struggling playing hurling. They don't stand out."

Gilroy is open, naturally, to players like Danny Sutcliffe and Paul and Mark Schutte, who have left the fold in recent years coming back. "It's very simple. If a guy is playing for his club and he's playing well, it's a blank sheet of paper for me. I don't know the history. I was away for three years, I don't know why fellas are not playing. I'm sure there are different reasons but if they're playing well enough and they're interested in playing for Dublin?"

Getting Dublin to be consistently a top-four team will be a challenge but his simple philosophy in management is to ensure that any team he takes charge of gives their best performance in their last match.

"If that means you get knocked out or if that means you're winning, then you're happy. If you get the best out of them that's all you can ask for. I think if Dublin were getting the best out of themselves in the last performance of the year then we'd be in semi-finals and finals more regularly than we have been. That's my simple philosophy on it. If you look at it, you'd say we should be in a top four on a more consistent basis. We've flitted in and out. Dublin has done well because we don't have the tradition - 1938 is a long time ago.

"The progress has been steady. It'll always have these little bumps. When you're trying to break through with something, you'll be nearly there and then you'll fall back down and get back up again and I think people who are playing hurling in Dublin are a resilient bunch. They will get back up again."

Gilroy will present plans to the board this weekend that will include a suggestion for a permanent training base - he helped to establish the current football base at DCU's St Clare's facility. He admitted taking the job, despite his lack of hurling experience at this level - he hasn't played the game since he was 19 - because of his love of Dublin GAA.

"I wouldn't think it's a brave move. It's always a great honour to be asked to do anything, either in your own club or your own county. I've got so much from both that giving back, it's very hard to say no to things when you're asked," he said.

"I would consider myself to be a GAA man so whether it's football, hurling, camogie, ladies football, I'm interested in them all. I've a personal interest in them all because I've kids playing all codes. For me, it's a great challenge."

Credited with building the culture around Dublin football that now has the game in a vice-like grip, Gilroy believes the Dublin hurlers can go on and create their own culture in the years ahead.

"Culture is a very complex area. You (media) give me credit for that and that's great, I'll take credit every day of the week because you get enough knocks in life. But those players created a culture in themselves."

Irish Independent

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