herald

Saturday 21 April 2018

'Pat will do a great job'

Flynn says new Dublin hurling manager Gilroy will make players 'work like dogs' in new setup

Dublin’s Paul Flynn and Pat Gilroy savour the moment after defeating Kerry in the 2011 All-Ireland SFC final Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin’s Paul Flynn and Pat Gilroy savour the moment after defeating Kerry in the 2011 All-Ireland SFC final Photo: Sportsfile

It may be the depths of winter but already, there is a hum of anticipation about the Dublin hurlers.

Pat Gilroy has, it seems, already impressed upon his currently bloated squad the requirement to be ready to train and perform at any time of day; eye-wateringly early or traditionally late.

Or both.

Inevitably, some have already fallen away but that was what Gilroy and his management team anticipated.

No hurler of a standard and a level of fitness has been deprived the chance to demonstrate to Dublin's new hurling manager their candidacy for a place on the squad, regardless of their recent history with his predecessor Ger Cunningham.

The team's makeup and style will reveal themselves in time, but hints may be seen at the annual Herald/Dublin Bus Dubs Stars match on Saturday December 23 before their Walsh Cup campaign begins away against Meath on Wednesday, January 3.

For now, it's all speculation but there is no mistaking the fact that there is an optimism in the air around Dublin hurling that hasn't been felt in some time.

"I think he'll do a great job," says Paul Flynn, an unapologetic fan of Gilroy's management style from their time together with the Dublin footballers.

Leader

"I saw little small snippets over in Boston, just the sort of honesty that lads are going to show for him.

"And that's what he gets out of lads."

"He's a great leader. I have so much time for him.

"He would have taken me under his wing when I was raw at the start.

"And he worked with me on my skills, on my attitude. Everything.

"He's a manager that players just want to play for. I'll be really keeping a closer eye on them than usual."

Flynn's potential as a modern inter-county wing-forward was obvious from long before he encountered Gilroy but together, they brought his game to new levels, as illustrated by his four All-Star awards in-a-row between 2011 and '14.

"I think there's an aura about Pat," he says by way of explaining the St Vincent's man's methods.

"Because he's a very successful man, not just in sport, but in business as well. He has a great way of taking you on a journey with him.

"He made me believe that I was a much better player than I was. But you reach the heights he makes you believe because it's a mindset thing.

"But he makes you work like a dog. Because he's all about pressure and tackles.

"He makes you really want to work for him. And you know that if you give him honesty, he'll give you honesty back.

"But he would be true as an arrow with you. There's no grey area with Pat. It's black and white.

"And players respond to that when they know 'if I play well here, this guy is going to play me'.

"There will be no legacy players in his head that he will be thinking he's definitely going to start. He's starting with a blank canvass.

"He backs guys. And that's what lads will respond to.

Belief

"Even in 2010," Flynn recalls of the transitional period in Gilroy's management of the footballers, "Meath put five goals past us. And he changed our belief that once we defend well, we would put ourselves in a position where we would be able to win.

"I wouldn't be surprised," the Fingallians man adds, "if that's what you saw from the Dublin hurlers next year."

Meanwhile, Ballymun Kickhams are the latest Dublin club on the hunt for a new senior football manager.

Paddy Carr's term has ended after two years and the club have now begun the search for his replacement.

Under Carr, Ballymun Kickhams lost twice to St Vincent's - in last year's semi-final and this year's final - when Kickhams were twice considered to be favourites.

Ballymun Kickhams have not won a Dublin SFC since Paul Curran led them to the 2012 title and join Kilmacud Crokes among the top-flight sides currently looking for a new manager for 2018.

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