Pat Gilroy: Dublin must try and become a top four team consistently

‘A lot of it is their mindset, their physical conditioning, their diets - all the package’

New Dublin hurling manager Pat Gilroy in Croke Park to launch the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Pat Gilroy sees his limited hurling experience as no inhibition whatsoever as he prepares to take on the Dublin senior management job for the next three years.

Speaking for the first time since his appointment last week, Gilroy has outlined his immediate ambitions and it’s clear he intends on bringing the same enthusiasm and commitment which in 2011 saw him guide Dublin to their first All-Ireland football title in 16 years.

“A lot of people would argue that I didn’t play football at a top level either,” said Gilroy, who unexpectedly switches codes after stepping down from the Dublin football job in 2012. “I was on the pitch the odd time, so I wouldn’t worry about that.

“And there’s not an awful lot of technical stuff that we’re going to be adding to these guys. If you look at them playing technically, they are all very, very capable. There are 50 hurlers in Dublin when you’re watching the club championship who are technically very competent. It’s about bringing that on to a different level for sure. But a lot of it is their mindset, their physical conditioning, their diets - all the package.


“If you’re watching the game as well, if I had a choice, and there was a hurling match on and a football match on, I might have watched the hurling match for the excitement of it. So it’s not something I would be overly concerned about.

“And I would have played hurling and football for Vincent’s, all the way up to minor. Then I went straight senior with hurling first. And I played two games then with the senior hurling team. Then I got on then to the Dublin under-21 football panel - and I never played hurling again, from when I was 19. 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.”

Speaking at the launch of the AIG Hurling Classic, to be played in Boston next month, Gilroy also indicated that he had lined up a backroom team, to go before the Dublin county board later this week for ratification: former Galway hurler manager Anthony Cunningham had been mooted as his team coach but this is still unconfirmed.

“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.”

What is certain is that Gilroy intends on giving the hurling position the same level of attention as he did Dublin football, having thought long and hard about taking over when approached by the county board in recent weeks.

“Of course you would, because 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.

“Family was the biggest consideration. Obviously, you have to be sure in your own mind that you’re going to add something to do. Otherwise you shouldn’t be doing it.”

“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. I would consider myself to be a GAA man so whether it’s football, hurling, camogie, ladies football, I’m interested in them all. 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.”

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics