Former Dublin football boss Pat Gilroy’s recent appointment as senior hurling manager was a decision that raised a few eyebrows.
However, having a boss with the winning mentality that Gilroy possesses from his time with the county’s footballers can only be a good thing for Dublin hurling.
However, one issue that has long been associated with the hurling team from the capital is getting the best players on the pitch.
With such a strong football team, players who are talented at both codes have typically thrown their lot in with Jim Gavin’s side – with Ciaran Kilkenny the latest example.
However, two other former inter-county footballers who are also talented hurlers are Danny Sutcliffe and Diarmuid Connolly.
At the launch of the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic about these players, Gilroy spoke about his last meeting with Sutcliffe:
“Danny is an outstanding hurler, there is no doubt about it but I don’t know at this stage what his own plans are. The last time I met him was in New York, I happened to bump into him, he was working in New York. I think he is still abroad but intending to come back home.
“If he’s back home and he’s hurling with his club and he wants to play – if he plays anything like he did before, he’d be a fell you’d definitely want to have.”
Diarmuid Connolly was quick to quell talk of a return to the small ball over the weekend and Gilroy confessed that such a move was unlikely:
It would be a huge ask for a fella who has hurled two matches a year for 10 years – Vincents weren’t very good over the last 10 years – to then turn around and say at 30 years of age switch over. There are other guys who did it like Conal Keaney but Conal was playing a lot of hurling so switching over was easy.
Regardless of whether the pair join up with the squad or not, Gilroy has high hopes for Dublin hurling:
“The thing for Dublin is to try and become a top four team consistently. We’ve been in and out of that the last 10 years. There is so much hurling happening in the city that we really should be pushing to be up there on a more consistent basis.”
*Newly appointed Dublin hurling manager, Pat Gilroy and players Johnny Coen (Galway), Michael Cahill (Tipperary), and David Fitzgerald (Clare) were in Croke Park today to launch the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival, also supported by Aer Lingus. On November 19, Dublin will take on Galway and Tipperary will face Clare in Fenway Park with the winning sides from both proceeding to a final for a chance to win the inaugural Players Champions Cup. This is the second time in three years that hurling, in the “Super 11’s” format, will be played at the venue. Tickets for the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival can be purchased at www.redsox.com/hurling.*