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Pat Gilroy admits his Dublin hurlers are "quite low down in the pecking order" going into 2018.
Gilroy took over as the Sky Blues' manager in October, succeeding Ger Cunningham, who resigned in July following the Dubs' humiliating 6-26 to 1-19 qualifier defeat to Tipperary.
Dublin won the National League in 2011 and the Leinster title in 2013 under then-manager Anthony Daly, but have not claimed the All-Ireland title since 1938.
And Gilroy, 46, who led the Dublin footballers to All-Ireland victory in 2011, admits there is much to do to get the Dubs back among the hurling elite next year.
Dublin begin their NHL Division 1B campaign against Offaly at Croke Park on 27 January, and start their Leinster Championship campaign at home to Kilkenny on May 12, before taking on Wexford on 20 May, Offaly on 3 June and All-Ireland champions Galway on 9 June.
"Where we are at the moment, we are quite low down in the pecking order," Gilroy told the Evening Herald after Sunday's 55-39 defeat to Galway in the 11-a-side AIG Fenway Classic exhibition tournament in Boston.
"I don't think, for all of the hurling going on in Dublin for the last 15 years, the standard we are at, we should be better than [Sunday's 14-point defeat to Galway].
"The only way we can get there is through hard work and we have a busy schedule ahead of us. We will take it one game at a time because we have to.
"We are a team that needs to learn how to be consistent because some of the performances in the last three years have been very good too.
"We have had some great results, but we need to have that consistency to become a top-four team."
Image: Inpho/ James Crombie
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