Monday 18 February 2019

Gilroy given a lot to ponder

Dublin Blues 2-19 Dublin Whites 2-17

Dublin continued their preparations for next Sunday's Leinster SFC semi-final against Kildare with a worthwhile encounter against a Dubs selection in Bohernabreena with late points from Tomás Quinn and Bryan Cullen sealing a two-point win for Pat Gilroy's side.

The healthy crowd gathered at the picturesque venue were treated to competitive fare with manager Pat Gilroy content with the workout ahead of their clash with the Lilywhites.

"We were making a lot of changes and some of the lads were carrying knocks but the lads have been training hard so we're happy enough and that's probably the last bit of hard work we'll do ahead of next Sunday."

It was one of the more recent recruits to Gilroy's panel, St Sylvester's Micheál McCarthy, who gave the most noteworthy display with an accomplished performance in attack, scoring 2-6 in total in addition to linking well throughout, a fact readily acknowledged by Gilroy.

"Micheál has only been with us for a month or so and he's really starting to get a grip of what's required. To be fair, there were a lot of lads out there who impressed today. Micheál got out in front well and got a few scores, took his chances well and that's what you want to see. He can be a target man and can use both feet, which is a plus at this level," said Gilroy.

Another pleasing aspect of Saturday's encounter, in aid of the Valerie Plant Foundation, was the energy and cutting edge that David Henry provided, particularly in the opening-half when lining out for the Dublin Whites.

The Raheny clubman, who missed the O'Byrne Cup and National League after taking time out of the panel to travel, looks to have regained his zest and fitness having rejoined the panel back in April and will enhance the options available to Gilroy in both attacking and defensive positions.


The options at centre-field, however, may well be the focus of Dublin's attentions this week as Michael Darragh Macauley suffered a foot complaint on Friday and was unable to appear, with the lack of a definitive prognosis a cause of concern despite both Ross McConnell and Eamonn Fennell continuing their rehabilitation from recent injuries.

"Michael has a problem with his foot. His foot is swollen. We don't know what it is just yet as it only showed up on Friday. He can't remember getting a knock on it and we got it x-rayed but nothing showed up on that. Hopefully it will settle down by the weekend.

"Eamon and Ross had a good battle between them. They're both still a little bit off the full 70 minutes but the two of them have made great progress over the last three weeks. We mightn't have expected them to be as far down the line as this but they've worked very hard and they've put themselves into contention.

"You wouldn't get a full game from either of them but you could definitely get a good stretch out of them and it increases our options all the time." The quality provided was largely of an attacking nature with Bernard Brogan offering an encouraging first-half, including an eighth minute goal after fine approach play from Eoghan O'Gara and Tomás Quinn.

McCarthy and Henry kept the Dublin Whites in contention with a brace of points apiece as the half progressed while Alan Brogan linked play intelligently during his short time on the pitch as the Blues led by 1-8 to 0-7 at the interval.

The second-half was illuminated by a wonderful 10-minute cameo from Diarmuid Connolly at full-forward as the St Vincent's man kicked two points in addition to creating the final scoring pass for two Kevin McManamon points and a Bryan Cullen score.

After Darren Daly was unfortunate to deflect Michael Savage's save from Quinn into the net in the 42nd minute, Connolly's substitution soon after coincided with his side ceding possession and territory and McCarthy calmly converted a penalty after McConnell was hauled down in the 46th minute.

McCarthy added two frees before his well-taken second goal midway through the half left just two points between the sides and the local following received a boost when St Anne's favourite Daniel Watson joined the fray to kick two superb points in the final quarter.

However, Cullen pushed Dublin ahead towards the death and although Darragh Nelson levelled briefly, Quinn and Cullen tagged on late scores.

Gilroy's thoughts immediately turning to Sunday's vital clash: "Kildare are obviously very good. It's going to be a tough match and there'll be an awful lot of hard work required for us to get a result out of that game."

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