| 13.6°C Dublin

Gilroy: Losing to Mayo my fault

Former Dubs boss admits he 'took eye off ball'in 2012 semi-final clash

Close

BAD DAY: Dublin manager Pat Gilroy on the sideline during the 2012 All-Ireland SFC final against Mayo at Croke Park. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

BAD DAY: Dublin manager Pat Gilroy on the sideline during the 2012 All-Ireland SFC final against Mayo at Croke Park. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

BAD DAY: Dublin manager Pat Gilroy on the sideline during the 2012 All-Ireland SFC final against Mayo at Croke Park. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Pat Gilroy has revealed how he blamed his own preoccupation with Donegal for Dublin's loss to Mayo in the 2012 All-Ireland semi-final, his last match as the county's senior football manager.

In an interview with former Dublin player Eamon Fennell for the county board's official website, Gilroy described how he became "obsessed with making sure no-one caught us," that summer and had made several trips to watch Jim McGuinness's team in the Ulster SFC.

He also described how he had tailored some of Dublin's training sessions in the weeks before the Mayo match in order to drill his team in the specific tactical challenges Donegal posed that year.

"I felt I took my eye off the ball," he admitted.

"Donegal were so strong and they were doing so much damage to teams, I had an eye on them and how I wanted to play (against Donegal) and I didn't spend enough time on Mayo."

Dublin were defending All-Ireland champions, but at one stage early in the second half of the All-Ireland semi-final, they trailed Mayo by ten points.

Gilroy noted that "the second half of the Mayo match that year was as good as that team played," as Dublin brought the deficit back to just three points.

"Ten points was too much of a lead to get back."

He also cited the absence of Mickey Whelan, who had stepped down as the team's trainer after the previous year's All-Ireland success, as a factor in their preparation.

"I would blame myself very strongly for allowing them to get that ten-point lead," he stressed.

"That's one thing that Mickey would have been excellent on. He'd have been probing and asking more of them. I had spent a little bit too much time looking at Donegal. I saw them as the real danger that year.

Close

MY BALL: Dublin’s Eoghan O’Gara in action against Mayo’s Chris Barrett during the 2012 All-Ireland SFC final. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

MY BALL: Dublin’s Eoghan O’Gara in action against Mayo’s Chris Barrett during the 2012 All-Ireland SFC final. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

MY BALL: Dublin’s Eoghan O’Gara in action against Mayo’s Chris Barrett during the 2012 All-Ireland SFC final. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

"I was travelling up watching them in the Ulster championship. I was watching every video I could get my hands on, to make sure we had enough things in our armoury."

"I would certainly hold my hand up on that one."

In a wide-ranging interview, Gilroy also explained that despite common perception, he didn't simply tear up his initial plans after a humiliating All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Kerry in his first season in charge.

He admitted, however, that players weren't completely clear as to what was expected of them that year.

pressure

"In 2009, we were trying to do the approach that we ended up having through 2010 and '11," Gilroy outlined.

"And when we weren't under pressure, we were getting that.

"But when the pressure came on, they reverted to doing a little bit of their own thing.

"So the big starting point for us was to make sure the group knew exactly what we meant.

"So we started to ask more questions of the group. Because we were clear in our own heads but it wasn't translating to the group.

"By the end of 2011, pretty much anyone in the group could have stood up and said 'this is the game plan.'

Gilroy also revealed he was "very confident throughout 2011 that we were going to be successful."

Of the All-Ireland final against Kerry, he observed: "Over that 70 minutes, if you look at it in very close detail, Kerry had a dominant spell for the third quarter.

"But outside of that, we managed the game very well."

Gilroy was a hugely surprising appointment when he was chosen as the man to succeed 'Pillar' Caffrey as Dublin manager in September 2008 and he admits now that no one was more surprised than him.

Recalling how he had agreed to manage an under 14 team in St Vincent's, having retired from playing just months previously, Gilroy explained: "I just got a call and I was asked would I be interested in the job.

"I was totally shocked. I wasn't thinking that way at all.

"You don't get asked to do something like that too often in your life. And it's very hard to turn something like that down.

Gilroy also admitted he "wouldn't have dreamt of doing it," had Whelan not agreed to join him as the team's trainer.

"His experience. He was very happy doing the coaching. He's phenomenal. He's a great fella to have around."

Of his single season in charge of the Dublin hurlers in 2018, Gilroy admitted: "I never went into a group of people that was as down as that particular group.

"Their confidence was shot as individuals," he explained. "They had lost belief in themselves."

After a competitive Leinster SHC, Gilroy was forced to step down due to a change of work circumstances and he admits now he "would have loved to have stayed doing that."

"Ultimately as a county," he went on, "we should be able to have a successful hurling and football team all the time, without one damaging the other."

"I have great admiration for that group. And I think they will go on and have success. I really look forward to the day both teams are successful in Croke Park."