Two changes for Gilroy's Dublin

Dublin manager Pat Gilroy has revealed that both Stephen Cluxton and Philip McMahon are only suffering minor knocks, but that it is still important to give both Michael Savage and Michael Fitzsimons some game-time.

Dublin manager Pat Gilroy has revealed that both Stephen Cluxton and Philip McMahon are only suffering minor knocks, but that it is still important to give both Michael Savage and Michael Fitzsimons some game-time.

Gilroy has made two changes to his team for Saturday's NFL Division 1 duel with Derry at Parnell Park (throw-in 7.30pm), bringing DCU's Sigerson Cup goalkeeper Michael Savage and Cuala defender Michael Fitzsimons in for Cluxton and McMahon respectively.

"It's only something minor (with Philip). If we were playing a Championship match we would be taking a risk on him in it. He should be fine," said Gilroy.

"He has a Sigerson Cup game the following week so we said we wouldn't take a chance on it.

"Maybe there was a big gap between Michael (Savage) and Stephen (Cluxton) but the gap has closed. We felt that it was important to give Michael a bit of time as well during this league and we will probably play him in every second game.

"Stephen is carrying a knock now - he has an ankle problem - but he is fit enough to be in the subs. He needs to go and get that sorted next week, so he will probably be out for the next game as well.

"Michael is a good goalkeeper, he has come on a lot in the last 12 months so we would be very comfortable with him starting in goal."

Last weekend's victory over Kerry was Dublin's first in the Kingdom since 1982 and while the Metropolitans' fortunes on the road have not been good in recent years, Gilroy says that sometimes sides can be better prepared when they are playing away from home.

"Last year we won one on the road, we lost one on the road and we drew one. In many ways being on the road makes it a bit easier, because you have the guys with you for the whole day the day before hand.

"It's maybe a bit easier to get focused than when you are just playing at Parnell Park and meeting on the day. There's a lot of positives with that - the group just tends to be very focused when you are playing away from home.

"Look, there's nobody getting carried away with themselves but obviously you feel a bit better about yourself than if you have lost. They are a very grounded bunch of fellas that played last Sunday.

"There was nobody pulling up in training on Tuesday, people worked really hard so that's what we need to keep doing.

"We know we are a long way off the top teams in summer time in the Championship, so we have a lot of work to do to try and close that gap."

Gilroy was very impressed with Derry's ball distribution and their clinical finishing in their opening victory over Tyrone last Saturday at Celtic Park.

"I think their use of the ball was very good and their accuracy. Their free-taking was exceptional and I don't think they missed one," he said.

"Long range points were particularly impressive, so they look like guys who you want to block out."

Eleven months ago Derry beat Dublin by 0-20 to 1-12 in a fast-paced encounter at Parnell Park. Gilroy expects another closely-fought encounter with the Oak Leafers this weekend.

"They played as well as they did against Tyrone last week - they played like that against us at Parnell Park last year.

"We'd expect a very, very difficult match because I'm sure they are going to be fitter. I think it will be an even harder game than last Sunday which was a very tough game. That took a lot out of the players last Sunday."

And the Dubs boss also feels that counties lift their game when the current Leinster champions provide the opposition.

"It would appear to me and I'm only involved about 14 months, that every time we play anybody they seem to lift their game or raise their game whether it is at home or away.

"I think teams want to beat Dublin every time they play us. I haven't seen too many teams come out against us and sort of lie down. I think it's just the fact that when teams are playing Dublin, they want to beat us."

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