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Published: 11:26 | 21/11/17

Gilroy "won't beg" players to line out for Dublin

Newly-appointed Dublin hurling manager Pat Gilroy says he "won't beg anyone" to join his inter-county panel.

All-Ireland-winning Dublin footballers Diarmuid Connolly and Con O'Callaghan have both been linked with a move to join Girloy's hurling panel, after claiming Celtic Crosses with Jim Gavin's Sam Maguire-winning side earlier this year.

St Vincent's clubman Connolly, 30, was on the Dublin U-21 team that reached the 2007 All-Ireland hurling final. while O'Callaghan, 21, won an All-Ireland Club Championship medal with Cuala's hurlers earlier this year.

Gilroy, who agreed a three-year term with the Dublin County Board in October, says Connolly's form doesn't warrant an inter-county call-up, but admits he would consider selecting 21-year-old O'Callaghan to his panel.

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 12 May, before taking on Wexford on 20 May, Offaly on 3 June and All-Ireland champions Galway on 9 June.

"I speak to Diarmuid Connolly regularly because he's a club-mate of mine," Gilroy told the GAA's official website.

"I don't think Diarmuid is in a position where he wants to commit to the hurling. He's 30-odd now. Unless you're playing hurling a huge amount there’s no way you can think about playing inter-county.

"He was starting to get up to speed, to the kind of hurling he could play as a kid in the semi-final, but he wasn't one of Vincent's top players. I think that's the way he feels about it.

"I think, to be fair to the likes of Con and that, he's going great with the football. It's up to them. They might think at some stage in their lives, I've enough of football, I want to give hurling a go. He’s young enough and good enough to do it.

"It will be his decision if he decides to give the hurling a lash. Maybe if he goes to March and he decides he's enjoying the hurling so much, [and says] 'That's what I want to do.'"

Gilroy, who led the Dublin footballers to All-Ireland victory in 2011, says the GAA forces talented dual players to choose one sport over because of their poor fixture planning. 

"If the GAA wanted to have dual players, they could set the fixtures out so that dual players could play," the 46-year-old told the Irish Examiner.

"But if you look at the fixtures, there are going to be clashes all the time. It is very difficult but it is possible. I don’t see why in past generations people were able and they can’t do it now.

"However, the fixtures now dictate if a guy is going to miss out on an important Leinster match or an important All- Ireland match.

"It just doesn't make sense. But I think it would be physically possible. A lot of these fellas who are in college and that are free for the summer, so there is no reason why they couldn't play both games. 

"Nearly all of our panel and a good few of the football panel play hurling. Pretty much everyone here plays football with their club.

"If the GAA really wanted to have dual players it could have it but they are making it hard with the fixtures are set out."

Image: Inpho/ Donall Farmer

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