Gilroy admits Dublin TV decision ‘harsh’ on fans

DUBLIN football manager Pat Gilroy has described the decision to screen three of his side’s four NFL games live on Setanta’s subscription channel as “harsh” on the county’s supporters.

John Costello, chief executive of the Dublin County Board, expressed concern at the development and is to raise the matter at this month’s Central Council meeting.

However, his counterpart in Setanta, Niall Cogley, has pointed out that the three matches in question will be shown in full in a deferred slot on Setanta Ireland – available with many basic cable packages – on the evenings in question.

“I had no idea they were on Setanta One,” said Gilroy.

“It would seem a bit harsh on supporters but they’ll just have to come and watch the match live and not watch it on the telly.”

More results like Sunday’s win over Kerry in Killarney and there should be no difficulty in attracting larger crowds to Parnell Park, where they face Derry in round two of the NFL on Saturday evening.

Gilroy has made only two enforced changes from the side which defeated the champions for the fixture.

Michael Savage replaces Stephen Cluxton in goal while Michael Fitzsimons takes over from Philly McMahon at left-corner back. Both injuries have been described as minor.

Otherwise, the rest of last week’s starters have been rewarded for their efforts with an opportunity to back up that performance with another of its ilk – something Dublin have struggled to do in recent campaigns.

Much was made of their opening win coming on the road, even if it was against a much-weakened Kerry, but Gilroy pointed out that their away record in the NFL last year read: won one, drew one and lost one.

“It is maybe a bit easier to get focused than when you are playing in Parnell Park and just meeting guys on the day. There’s nobody getting carried away with themselves but you obviously feel a bit better about yourself than if you had lost.

“It’s a very grounded bunch of fellas. We know we are a long way off the top teams in the summertime and we have a lot of work to do to close that gap.”

Gilroy, like most managers, doesn’t tend to over-analyse the opposition at this time of year but he was impressed with Derry’s defeat of Tyrone last weekend, and their use of possession and accuracy in front of goal.

“Derry looked like they were flying. They looked a lot fitter than Kerry who, in fairness, had been on holiday. We probably had an advantage last week in that we have so many guys involved in Sigerson and their fitness levels are so high.

“I don’t think we will have the same advantage this weekend. I expect a hard match.”

It is only 11 months since Damian Cassidy’s men last pitched up in Donnycarney and the five-point win they returned north with on that occasion did little justice to their dominance.

Gilroy admits that they would represent a good scalp this weekend but that defeat last March was just one example of how teams visiting Parnell Park have been able to raise their game.

“Well, it would appear to me, and I’m only involved for 14 months now, when we play anybody they seem to lift their game, whether it’s at home or away,” was Gilroy’s take on that theory. “I think teams want to beat us every time they play us so I haven’t seen too many teams come out against us and lie down. I think teams playing Dublin, they want to beat us.”

DUBLIN SF (v Derry): M Savage; P Conlon, Rory O’Carroll, M Fitzsimons; P Griffin, C O’Sullivan, J McCarthy; E Fennell, R McConnell; A Hubbard, M McAuley, P Flynn; D Henry, B Kelly, K McManamon.

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