The Choice of Champions
News in Photos
Dublin manager Pat Gilroy is anticipating a tough challenge for his defenders when they take on free-scoring Wexford in the Leinster Football Championship final on Sunday in Croke Park.
The Model County have notched 7-54 in their three matches in the province this year, earning plaudits for their style of football and fluidity in attack.
Gilroy said: ‘You are getting to that stage of the Championship where big scores probably won’t be racked up by any team. Certainly their forwards have been the in-form forwards of the Championship so far.
‘In comparison to the last two teams we played in the Championship, the Wexford forwards are firing really well at the minute. I think it will be a big challenge for us.
‘Most people remember last year ahead of 2008 in that Wexford really put it up to us that day. In our own minds that is what we would be expecting and it will be a very tough game.
Gilroy has made one change to his team with Eamon Fennell coming in for Michael Dara McAuley, who faces another three weeks on the sidelines with a broken finger and would be very doubtful for a potential All-Ireland quarter-final at the end of the month.
The Dublin supremo said: ‘It’s an enforced change. We’re lucky that we have a lot of good players now that will be pushing to be on the bench and make it hard to pick the team.
‘We’d be confident that we’ve gone out with a team that deserve another chance after the performance the last day.’
Eoghan O’Gara will continue in the Dublin forward line despite a red card against Kildare last time out, with the Dublin manager saying that he will ‘trust him to deal with’ the discipline issues that were raised against the Lilywhites.
The Dubs have yet to hit top form in the Championship so far with a routine win over Laois followed by the controversial one-point success over Kieran McGeeney’s men. Gilroy is hopeful that, as his team progresses, the displays will improve.
‘The performances have been good but not outstanding. You would hope that they would start to come later on with more Championship matches.
‘I think the work-rate has been excellent and the application very good in both matches. We did what we had to do. You’re definitely not at your absolute best for the early part.
‘We’re playing a lot more consistent than the final two years ago. We’re not having those awful games. We haven’t had a big fall off in performance since the Meath match last year. We’ve been fairly consistent. We’d be a lot more sure of what we’re getting out of the players and they know what we’re looking for now.’
Dublin team to play Wexford in GAA Leinster SFC final at Croke Park on Sunday 10 July, throw-in 2.00pm:
1 Stephen Cluxton, 2 Michael Fitzsimons 3 Rory O’Carroll, 4 Paul Conlon, 5 James McCarthy, 6 Ger Brennan, 7 Kevin Nolan
8 Denis Bastick, 9 Eamon Fennell, 10 Paul Flynn, 11 Alan Brogan, 12 Bryan Cullen (capt), 13 Eoghan O’Gara, 14 Diarmuid Connolly, 15 Bernard Brogan
(Story and images form RTE)