The young Dublin defender gives his thoughts on new Dublin Manager Pat Gilroy and his backroom team
May 13th is a huge day for new Dublin boss Pat Gilroy and the Dublin Senior Hurlers as they start their first Leinster Championship under the new regime, with a home advantage game against provincial giants Kilkenny as their curtain raiser.
The League is well and truly over, and with Dublin maintaining their Division 1B status for another year, there will be positive to be taken from League into Championship.
Whitehall Colmcilles star Eoghan O’Donnell was a regular starter under former boss Ger Cunningham and has been a model of consistency ever since. At 22 he has been moulded into an aggressive and skilful full back who has become huge under pressure with a flare for breaking forward.
Dublin reached this year’s League Quarter Finals, despite suffering some heavy losses in the round stages. But their performances against Galway, Laois, and in the first half of the Quarter Final against Tipperary showed signs of the slow build and discipline Pat Gilroy is known for.
And regardless of Gilroy’s background being Football for the most part, O’Donnell felt the move to ratify him as the new hurling boss was a positive move.
“I didn’t have any hesitation”, he told the42.ie.
“There was a lot of talk about a business mind and a player man manager and stuff like that so there was a reputation coming in.”
“Okay he managed the football team but he has been around hurling his whole life and knows what he’s talking about and can put a structure in place there.”
Eoghan admitted lads were nervous when they assembled to start the new season, but things bedded in quite quickly.
“Pat is a no messing kind of guy. If you’re pulling your weight, you’re okay with him and if you’re not then he’ll say it to you fairly quickly but there’s no beating around the bush with him he just calls it as straight as it is and that’s all you can ask for with a manager.”
Mickey Whelan and Anthony Cunningham’s roles as sectors only fortify Gilroy’s intent further as he attempts to bring success back to Dublin hurling, their last provincial championship win being five years ago under Anthony Daly.
“Mickey is great for a one on one chat that he might explain something a small bit differently and it just clicks in your head and that’s just a testament to how much coaching he has under his belt.”
“We played Galway in Parnell Park when Anthony was manager, my first year playing. So I kind of had the scarier end of him from that side when he was playing against you but Anthony is a gentleman. He’s another straight shooter.”
With the boys in blue now almost firing on all cylinders thanks to some absentees lining out recently in the Dublin Championship, the panel are further enthused at the thoughts of some players from All Ireland Champions Cuala returning to bolster their efforts.
“If you look at both the first match in Croke Park and the replay, them games are nip and tuck, and for Cuala to come out on that is a huge mental advantage.
“If they can bring that in and share it with us, we’re open minded and we’d love to see that.”
“That’s what we’re looking forward to most, having a couple of players in that know how to win and know how to get over the line no matter what it takes.”