Cian O’Sullivan backs Pat Gilroy to do capital job for Dublin hurlers

After being transformed from a “startled earwig” to an All-Ireland winner under Pat Gilroy, Dublin defender Cian O’Sullivan has backed his old manager to revive the county’s hurling fortunes.

Increasing speculation since the departure of Ger Cunningham in July has seen former All-Ireland-winning football manager Gilroy linked to the vacant job.

O’Sullivan made his senior debut for Dublin’s footballers under Gilroy in the 2009 season, which culminated with a 17-point collapse against Kerry, after which Gilroy described his side as “startled earwigs”. But the same Dubs outfit avenged that defeat with an All-Ireland final victory two years later.

The 29-year-old defender has backed his old coach to succeed if he takes up the hurling role.

“I think that’s due to be announced in the next couple of days,” said O’Sullivan. “He has been incredibly successful in all fields of management, whether it is in business or in the GAA with St Vincent’s and Dublin from 2009-12.

“All those qualities that apply to any sport he possess and if he is to be the next Dublin manager I am sure that he will do a fantastic job,” said the Kilmacud Crokes man, speaking at the launch of an All-Ireland Smiles campaign for Sensodyne and Corsodyl.

The 2017 All-Star nominee suggested the 45-year-old coach is capable of transforming the fortunes of the capital’s hurlers following Cunningham’s disappointing reign, which brought just one senior provincial victory since 2014.

“Looking back, when he was appointed Dublin [football] manager in 2009, he had no experience of managing inter-county teams,” said O’Sullivan. “But he certainly made a success of that and I am sure that he will do the same with the hurling job.

“There are some really talented hurlers in the county and they probably have not been as successful as they would have wished over the last few years.”

Comparing his current Dublin manager Jim Gavin with his predecessor, O’Sullivan claimed both prioritise their team ahead of their own egos.

The defender also hit back at recent criticism of Gavin after some pundits suggested the four-time All-Ireland-winning manager does not show enough public emotion or respect for his opposition.

“It’s not that he doesn’t show any emotion,” said O’Sullivan.

“I think it’s a massive strength of his that he’s able to stay calm and collected in really intense moments.”

Pete McGrath was last night ratified as new Louth senior football manager on a two-year term.

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