Dublin hurlers shocked by Gilroy's departure but wish him well
By John Harrington
Dublin hurler Chris Crummey says that Pat Gilroy’s decision to step down as county senior hurling team manager came as a shock to all of the players.
Gilroy was forced to end his tenure after just one year in charge because of work commitments, and Crummey admits it was a decision none of the panel saw coming.
“No we didn't, I suppose it came as a shock to us,” he said. “Obviously Pat probably knew about the situation for a long time but kept it to himself and only made the final call when he knew it was totally unfeasible to manage both his work and the managerial role that he had.
“It was obviously a shock and we were very disappointed, but we totally understand where Pat is coming from.
“We know that he did everything he could to try to stay on board and he's as disappointed as we are as players. So we just wish him well in his career.”
Crummey hopes the Dublin County Board appoint a new manager as soon as possible so they’re not playing catch-up with their rivals in terms of their preparations for the 2019 season.
“I suppose with the new structure you really want to be peaking for early May and that places greater emphasis on the work that you do in November and December,” said Crummey.
“I suppose from that point of view, yeah, you just want a manager appointed as soon as possible so you can get stuck into work for 2019.
“I suppose every managerial appointment is a big appointment but this one in particular, we feel like it's a managerial appointment where we need to build on the good work that went on last year and that's very, very important for this group of players.”
Dublin definitely made progress under Gilroy this year. Offaly were the only team they beat in the Leinster Championship, but they were unlucky to lose by a single point to both Kilkenny and Galway and by two points to Wexford.
Crummey believes they can take a lot of positives from the year despite Gilroy’s departure, and build on the solid foundations he put in place over the course of the coming years.
“We're disappointed because we held Pat in such high regard as a manager, but, at the same time, it's still the same group of players and we haven't lost anyone, really,” he said.
“There are a lot of positives to take from the Championship last year. It's still that way and it's up to us as players to really build on what we feel we have from 2018 because we know we were so close and there are a lot of lessons and learnings we need to bring into 2019.
“If we do that, hopefully that will be the difference in us getting over the line in those games.”
Crummey is convinced that Dublin hurling is primed to really explode in the coming years if they can just light the fuse with a couple of big wins in the Championship.
“You see the standard of Dublin club hurling at the moment with Cuala, the strides they’ve made - them being knocked out shows just how strong it is,” he said.
“There’s probably three or four or five clubs in Dublin who are at that level that if they win Dublin, they’re going to go on with a chance of winning Leinster and the All-Ireland.
“We’re just trying to bring that into the county scene. It’s such fine margins, but going back to the Kilkenny game - if we did get over the line in that game, how different the year could have been.
“That’s sport, I suppose but I do think that once we do get that win, it will make a massive difference. It’s the best game in the world, and I just think Dublin hurling is waiting for a big, massive win.
“We’ve great fans, diehard fans who go to the games all the time and hopefully 2019 is the year that we really build on last year and make massive progress.”