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Sunday 19 August 2018

Kettle: It's up to Pat

WILL he stay or will he go? Through the din of the riotous celebrations of the last 72 hours, that one question could be heard repeated ad nauseam.

Depending on who you listen to just now, Pat Gilroy either wants to build a legacy of unprecedented All-Ireland success for the Dublin footballers over the next decade or has decided that, with Sam Maguire reclaimed, his duty to the county is now done.

If the latter dreaded scenario transpires, the wild public parties which have raged all over the city in the last few nights will hush to more muted celebration.

Then the hunt for a new man will begin and spawn all the wildfire rumours and theories which accompany the search. In short, it's like 1995 all over again.

If the man who changed Dublin from the slick but brittle team which had to make do with Leinster titles into the mentally steeled and wholly more solid outfit which clipped the wings of both Kerry and Tyrone to win a first All-Ireland title in 16 years walks away now, who's to say what the future holds for Dublin?

Certainly, they are better-equipped to retain Sam Maguire with Gilroy at the helm. Naturally, County Board Chairman, Andy Kettle, is hoping that Gilroy will remain but he says the subject hasn't been broached with the St Vincent's man yet.

“You would be hopeful,” he told the Evening Herald. “But you would give Pat space at the moment. He has four young children. He has spent a lot of time away from them. We have to let him work out what he wants to do himself.

“There hasn't been any talk or any discussions about the future. What we're planning now is what we're going to do with the cup over the next couple of months.

“You would say the job is his if he wanted it.

“Again, obviously there would be talking to do be done.”

On the morning of October 9 of last year, news broke that Liam Sheedy had decided that after three years in charge of the Tipperary hurlers and having ended a near decade-long Premier famine for Liam MacCarthy success, his job was done.

Workload

A press release from the Tipp county board confirmed the news and in it, Sheedy cited the mountainous workload which the job entailed, describing regularly working 16-hour days between hurling duties and his position with Bank Of Ireland.

“I wouldn't see it like that with Pat,” reckons Kettle. “Pat has invested an awful lot in these guys. And like many people, I think he sees it as the beginning rather than the end.

“I'm sure he would like to have a part in continuing the process. Anybody who has worked this hard to get a group of guys to where they are would probably find it hard to just walk away. And there is a lot of young talent coming through.

“It's a huge commitment. And in Pat's case, it's purely voluntary.

“Yes, there is a great love of the county and the football. But you have to just give it space and then we will sit down and talk.”

Gilroy, in his role as managing director of Dalkia, also endures a time-consuming workload but has thus far managed to build the Dublin job around his other commitments.

After three years, however, the routine may have become even more arduous and with Sam in the bag, Gilroy could feel his job is fully done.

Asked how big a role Gilroy played in Dublin finally reclaiming Sam on Sunday, Kettle replied: “Huge. He changed the whole mindset.

“He changed the whole way that the team played. And he got a lot of stick for it early on.

“But he's a very determined character. And when he sees something that he thinks will work, he will stick by it and make it work.

“I'm sure he did it in his working life. He certainly did it in his sporting life. But this particular win was certainly masterminded by him.”

Everyone that is even remotely associated with Dublin GAA will be hoping it doesn't prove to be a glorious last act.

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