Gilroy expects Dublin challenge

by MIchelle Fortune , 20 November 2012

Former Dublin manager Pat Gilroy has backed the Metropolitans to be in the mix for All-Ireland glory next September but he believes the 2013 championship is wide open.

Gilroy guided Dublin to All-Ireland glory in 2011, ending a 16-year wait for the Sam Maguire, but his four-year tenure ended in disappointment when his side crashed out at the semi-final stage in September.

The defeat to Mayo was Gilroy's last act in charge of Dublin as work commitments forced him to step down but the All-Ireland winner is confident his successor Jim Gavin will enjoy a success spell.

"They’re very young. They’re a very young team apart from one or two guys. A lot of them are in their early 20s so they have a lot to offer," Gilroy stated.

"They’re a very honest and genuine group. They always give of their best so I think if they keep doing that they probably will win another one or two, if they keep their focus.

"Even chatting to the lads over here, they’ve learned a lot from last year. I think if they take those lessons forward they’re well capable of doing it again and winning another one."

Teams have often struggled to defend the Sam Maguire the following season but Gilroy feels the experience of missing out in 2012 could stand to Dublin and has warned Donegal to expect a tougher season than last.

"I think it might be difficult if you’ve win your first and then try to retain it but if you’ve got through that experience of little things maybe that dropped, standards-wise, even ourselves, you learn from those and if they won another one it is possible to win one after that," he is quoted as saying in the Irish Examiner.

"Donegal will, I think, be doing very well to retain it. It is difficult when you’ve been in that position before but I think if you’ve won and you lose one, then you can go and win two-in-a-row.

"That’s more likely than a team that just comes up for the first time."

There have been five different winners of the All-Ireland since 2008 and the former Dublin manager believes 2013 will be one of the most open championships in several years.

"I think there’s any one of eight to 20 teams that would genuinely believe that they could win the All-Ireland next year," he said.

"It comes down to the team that has worked the hardest off the pitch, I would say, has won the last three All-Irelands. In the year that they were working hard, they won the All-Ireland. I think that gives hope to a lot of people. That’s a key facet of the game."

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