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'I Did The Under 8s In Vincent's There Last Year'

'I Did The Under 8s In Vincent's There Last Year'
By PJ Browne
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"We might start them at 6am!" joked Pat Gilroy when it was suggested Tuesday might be the last time the media sees him for an afternoon interview for quite a while. He's already getting ideas about early starts for his press conferences.

Gilroy swiftly followed the quip by giving short shrift to a request for a timeline of his appointment as Dublin hurling manager - discussing the inner workings of the Dublin County Board would have been 'inappropriate'.

The 45-year-old was last week named as the successor to Ger Cunningham - a surprise to some considering his last role in inter-county management was with the Dublin footballers. For others, it is a fascinating appointment. Gilroy has made a success of every other aspect of his life - including his time with the Dublin footballers - perhaps he can also do so with the capital's hurlers.

Gilroy's experience as a hurling manager is limited. He has a wry smile on his face when asked if this is going to be first foray into managing a small ball team.

"No, I did the under 8s in Vincent's there last year. I did the 8s, 9s, 10s, 11s and 14s many years ago. I would have managed a lot of hurling teams but all juvenile hurling teams, you know."

Gilroy, who was speaking at the launch of the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic, sees the increased lip from inter-county players compared to those among the juvenile ranks as being one of the challenges.


"Harsh!" responds the St. Vincent's man when it's suggested that he'll bring more in terms of culture to the Dublin set-up than technical hurling knowledge.


Did you ever see me playing hurling?! I study hurling a lot and I suppose maybe if you weren't that good at something you try to figure out what people are doing.

So I wouldn't have been particularly good at hurling, I was alright, I won a few championships alright with Vincent's.

I played senior hurling first. I played senior hurling straight out of minor. Then I was called onto a Dublin U-21 football team. I played two games, and that was it, I never played hurling again.

Gilroy doesn't see himself as being a football man or hurling man. Rather, he views himself as a GAA man.

He will have help during what is initially set to be a three-year tenure as Dublin manager. Former Galway boss Anthony Cunningham is expected to be named to a backroom team which is close to being finalised.

The possibility that Gilroy could be a galvanising force for Dublin hurling is one the most intriguing factors in his appointment. Players who departed the panel under the previous regime may return. Though, Gilroy says he hasn't been in contact with anyone yet.


Danny Sutcliffe is one of those many would love to see make a comeback in the Dublin jersey. The St. Jude's player quit the panel two years ago. He popped up last summer playing for the New York footballers against Sligo in the Connacht Championship.

"Danny is an outstanding hurler, there's no doubt about it," states Gilroy.

But, again, I don't know at this stage what his own plans are. The last time I actually met him was in New York. He was working in New York and I happened to bump into him there.

I think he's still abroad but I think he's intending to come back home. If he's back home and he's hurling with his club and he wants to play and if he plays like anything he did before then he'd be a fella you'd definitely want to have.

Gilroy's vision of what success would be for Dublin isn't as black and white as winning All-Irelands. He sees the nuances.

For me, success would be in the three years that we play our best game as our last game of the championship. If we perform to our absolute best, then you can't do anything more than that. If that's good enough to take you over the line and win something, then that's great.

I had great years as a player with my club where we really gave everything and lost a final by a point, but it was nearly as good as success because we couldn't have done any more. We left everything on the field.

If we got that, then I think that would help Dublin hurling in terms of getting more long-term success and becoming a more traditional top four team. Because we've been kind of in and out of it for the last ten years. But to get consistency and be up at that level getting into semi-finals regularly, it should be the ambition.

There are so many kids playing hurling here and they need to have a place to go and believe that Dublin guys can achieve at the very top.

New Dublin hurling manager Pat Gilroy in Croke Park to launch the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival, also supported by Aer Lingus. On November 19, Dublin will take on Galway and Tipperary will face Clare in Fenway Park with the winning sides from both proceeding to a final for a chance to win the inaugural Players Champions Cup. This is the second time in three years that hurling, in the “Super 11’s” format, will be played at the venue. Tickets for the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival can be purchased at www.redsox.com/hurling. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

See Also: 'Whirlwind' 48 Hours For Cora Staunton As She Becomes Pro Aussie Rules Player

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