Thursday 18 October 2018

Pat Gilroy sets ambitious target as Dublin hurlers begin new era

17 October 2017; New Dublin hurling manager Pat Gilroy in Croke Park to launch the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival, also supported by Aer Lingus. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
17 October 2017; New Dublin hurling manager Pat Gilroy in Croke Park to launch the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival, also supported by Aer Lingus. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Pat Gilroy wants the Dublin hurlers to be consistently among the the top four teams in the game.

Gilroy, who was in Croke Park today for the launch of the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic, being promoted jointly the GAA and GPA, which will take place for the Players Champions Cup in the iconic home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team on November 19, has set the ambitious target as he outlined his reasons for getting back into inter-county management.

The 2011 All-Ireland winning manager doesn't feel the move is as brave as some would suggest given that he hasn't hurled with his club St Vincent's since he was 19.

"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.

"The thing for Dublin is to try and become a top four team consistently. We’ve been in and out of that the last 10 years. There is so much hurling happening in the city that we really should be pushing to be up there on a more consistent basis," he outlined.

Gilroy admitted he had to consider the impact on family and work before he could commit.

"You needed to make sure that you were, in your own head at least, going to make a contribution. It’s something that you have to consider. Have a long discussion with your family. They make the biggest sacrifice here. My wife and kids are agreeing not to see me, particularly at weekends.

"Since I haven’t been involved it’s been great because you get to see all their games. That's are probably the biggest factor.

"Then you have work colleagues, they have to be comfortable when you’re not there. That’s less of a consideration.

Gilroy is to meet with Dublin County Board this weekend to outline his plans with former Galway manager Anthony Cunningham set to be involved in a coaching capacity.

He admitted he was "very close" to finalising his backroom team.

"I have to meet a couple of people this evening to finalise things. I’m going to present a plan to the county board by the weekend. It’s been very quick to try and get everything into place but I think I’m there.

"As long as they’re happy then. By the weekend then I think we should be able to tell people who we have. If they’re not happy with things then we’ll have to change it.

"It’s only a week now. It’s been busy to put that whole structure in place. But we’re nearly there."

Gilroy revealed he had an extensive hurling background with St Vincent's before he committed to football.

"I would have played hurling and football for Vincent’s, all the way up to minor. Then I went straight senior with hurling first. I was Junior B with football. And I played two games then with the senior hurling team. I got on then to the Dublin under-21 football panel – and I never played hurling again from when I was 19. It’s probably a story that is true for anybody who ends up on a Dublin football team. It’s very hard to keep the hurling going. Unless you’re a really top class player, it’s very hard to keep the two things going.

"I would have had to put so much effort in to try and stay in a county set-up that I just didn’t have any time for hurling. I would have enjoyed them equally on the way up."

Gilroy said he wasn't concerned by his dearth of inter-county hurling experience, joking that some would have considered the same to be true of his football career.

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