Tuesday 25 October 2016

'We must share the blame'

Maguire says he's pushing hard to reclaim number one jersey after Kilkenny defeat

Gary Maguire in action for Dublin. Photo: Dáire Brennan/Sportsfile
Gary Maguire in action for Dublin. Photo: Dáire Brennan/Sportsfile

This is awkward for Gary Maguire.

It's awkward firstly, because he's been put up by the Dublin management for a promotional gig which involves media interviews less than 48 hours after they've been savaged by Kilkenny.

It's awkward because he played no part in the game.

It's awkward too, because the goalkeeper who did; Conor Dooley, is his understudy at Ballyboden St Enda's.

And, well, it's probably a bit more awkward because another clubmate and now former county colleague, Conal Keaney, took the opportunity to voice his opinion online directly afterwards that Dublin were "tactical a shambles" (sic), stressing also that they "need their best hurlers playing to compete" and adding, most damningly of all, that change was needed.

"Yeah, I heard about it. I read it in the paper, not on Twitter. But yeah, I read it," Maguire replies, clearly expecting this line of questioning.


"Obviously it's his opinion. He's well entitled to his opinion. He's probably done more for Dublin hurling than anyone, really, in the recent past.

"But yeah, look, we can't influence what people outside the squad are going to say.

"I don't know - maybe he was looking for a Sunday Game spot," he adds, trying to lighten the mood a touch.

"The new Joe Brolly! I don't know."

Hurdle cleared.

Maguire's position as substitute goalkeeper is a tricky one, too, given the people involved.

This is the second year of Ger Cunningham's reign and it is also the second season he has preferred the other 'keeper in the Dublin panel to Maguire - a former All Star - for the opening two rounds of the Championship.

Last year, Alan Nolan got the nod, though Maguire finished the summer as Dublin's number one.

This year, Maguire played just one League match and Dooley - who wasn't on the squad in 2015 - has been elected the chosen number one.

"Like any player, I want to be playing. I'm pushing hard in training. I'm feeling good. I'm feeling fresh. So I'm pushing hard to get a spot, as I've always done.

"But yeah, it's definitely different to be looking on."

Difficult to get your head around?

"Just trying to be patient at the moment. Keep trying to work hard in training and knocking on the door really.

"But yeah, at the moment, I'm not number one. So I'm disappointed."

The accepted logic behind Cunningham's decision is Dooley's apparently superior puck out range, though Maguire says he hasn't sought an explanation.

"Not really. Not d efinitively. The way I left it was just, he's the manager.

"He picks the team. I'm a player. If he doesn't pick me, he doesn't pick me.

"That was my attitude. I didn't go ringing him or looking for an explanation. I feel I'm hurling well enough. And if he doesn't want to pick me, he doesn't want to pick me."

Dooley, meanwhile, was caught between high-risk short puck outs attacked wolfishly by Kilkenny's forwards and midfielders or going long into the waiting paws of their awesome half-time line in that destructive 15 minute period after half-time.

"I wouldn't put any blame on him. I think every one has to shoulder the blame," Maguire insists.

"Anyone who is in the dressing-room is accountable and has to take their share of the blame.

"I wouldn't lay it at his door. That's right down to county board, or whoever. I wouldn't be blaming Conor."

"The result wasn't what we expected. It's hard to take," Maguire confirms.

"But it's about getting the focus on the next game," he adds. "Looking at the draw and working hard."

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