A PUMPED-UP Pat Gilroy said that he is ready for a fresh set of challenges as he takes the Dublin footballers in search of back-to-back All-Ireland titles.
The St Vincent’s man was reappointed as Dublin boss last night after he finally gave in to the county board’s pleas for him to stay on for one more year.
Gilroy was the toast of Hill 16 when he masterminded the Dubs’ thrilling win over Kerry and brought Sam Maguire back to the capital for the first time in 16 years.
Now he wants to make it two-in-a-row, a feat which the county hasn’t managed since 1977.
“We haven’t done too badly after we’ve won All-Irelands, but the big benchmark for success is to win it,” he told FM104 Sport today. “That’s one of the reasons why you would want to continue.”
It’s a different challenge. Trying to win a second one is a bigger challenge than winning the first one.
After three years in the job, Gilroy knows that teams need little encouragement to up their game and intensity when playing the Dubs.
Next season his side will have an even bigger target on their back as All-Ireland champions, he said, and they’ll have to grow again if they’re to have any hope of repeat success.
“You can’t stand still. If we stand still against next year, we won’t win the All-Ireland, that’s a fact. If we did exactly the same as we did last year, that won’t be enough. We got over a semi-final by two points and a final by a point, you can’t leave the margins that tight.
“We have to up the standard if we want to continue being successful. I think that’s the challenge, and it’s a big challenge because we put a lot in this year. But that’s life, you just have to keep on moving on.
Within two weeks of the All-Ireland, I got no sense off even one player that he had reached his life-time ambitions. They were all talking very quickly about how they wanted more. A lot of fellas were even talking about how they hadn’t played well in the final or in the semi-final. They’re the sort of things that you do like to hear.