Thursday 17 October 2019

Pat Gilroy steps down as manager of Dublin senior hurling team

File photo: Former Dublin hurling boss Pat Gilroy
File photo: Former Dublin hurling boss Pat Gilroy
Former Dublin manager Pat Gilroy, centre, with Mickey Whelan, selector, left, and Anthony Cunningham, coach, during the Annual Dub Stars Hurling Challenge match between Dublin and Dub Stars at St Vincent's GAA Club in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Conor McKeon

PAT Gilroy has made the shock decision to step down as Dublin senior hurling manager.

In a significant blow to the team and a major surprise, Gilroy has been forced to end his tenure after just one season in charge.

In a statement released tonight Dublin County Committee Chairman Sean Shanley paid tribute to the out-going manager and said:

"Pat has done an outstanding job as manager over the past year. I regret his departure but appreciate the huge sacrifices he has made over the year for Dublin GAA. The committee will commence the process of considering suitable candidates to replace Pat and his management team shortly.”

While Mr Gilroy said that: "It was a huge honour for me to be selected to manage the Dublin senior hurling team and I was delighted that I was able to make a contribution during the past year. Unfortunately my work commitments involves a considerable amount of overseas travel and it will not be possible for me to continue in this role.”

Adding that: "I would like to express my appreciation to my management and backroom team who were very supportive at all times and to the players for their exceptional commitment and dedication. Thanks also to the county board and the clubs for their encouragement and assistance.”

The Herald understands that The St. Vincent’s man, who was a surprise appointment in October of last year, informed members of this year’s panel last night individually that due unforeseen work commitments that will see him predominantly based abroad, he will not be in a position to manage the team in 2019.

Optimism had been raised in Dublin after Gilroy’s first year after a competitive performance in the newly-styled Leinster SHC round robin series, albeit Dublin won just one of their three Championship games.

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Having brought back a number of the players who had either been dropped by his predecessor Ger Cunninham or left the squad during the Cork man’s three-year reign, Gilroy had indicated his intention to continue the rebuilding job in 2019.

Speaking to the Herald in June after Dublin’s last match of the summer against Galway in Salthill, Gilroy insisted: “You’re back to a blank sheet of paper for next year.

“And you’d hope to get the best players playing for Dublin.

“We’ll certainly be shaking every bush and tree after the club championship this autumn to find fellas that can bring the thing on further next year.”

After a listless Division 1B campaign where they recorded just two victories against Antrim and Laois from their five matches, Dublin came within seconds of beating Kilkenny in Parnell Park in their first Leinster SHC match in the newly-rejigged structure.

Similarly, they led in injury-time against Wexford in Wexford Park in their next match but ended up on the losing side again by two points.

They then preserved their Leinster SHC status by beating Offaly by 13 points in Parnell Park before going down by just a single point to Galway in Salthill in what was effectively a dead rubber.

The Dublin county board now face a wholly unexpected appointment headache.

Gilroy, who had no significant experience as either a player or manager in hurling, was preferred by the board to Cuala boss Mattie Kenny after both were nominated to succeed Cunningham.

More recently, Kenny was linked with the vacant Waterford senior job and it remains to be seen whether his interested could be rekindled after last year’s snub.

Former Galway boss Anthony Cunningham worked with Gilroy as one of his selectors and could, in theory, be appointed with limited disruption to the setup.

However, Mickey Whelan, Paddy O’Donoghue and Seán Brady are all Gilroy’s appointments and may not be inclined to continue under a new manager.

Gilroy's reign as Dublin football manager ended somewhat unexpectedly in 2012 when he was forced to step down after four years in charge when he moved to England for work reasons.

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