Dublin got back to action and back to winning ways with an emphatic seven point win over a young Carlow side in the O’Byrne Cup at Dr. Cullen Park on Sunday.
Luke Dempsey’s team afforded the All-Ireland champions a guard of honor before a game that saw Dublin record a 0-6 to 0-4 interval lead.
Now unbeaten since losing the NFL final to Cork last May, manager Pat Gilroy was happy with Dublin’s opening performance of the year.
“We’ve worked very hard this week and fellas worked hard to get into that game, so we’d be very happy with their application,” said the Dublin manager.
“It was a good run out for us. Tomas Quinn played well and has obviously been training hard himself over the winter and kept himself in good condition, as a lot of them do.
“Our shooting in the first half was appalling but you expect that at time of year, when fellas are heavy legged. Hopefully it improves in the coming weeks.”
Dublin trained early in the morning last week, and Gilroy said his players had responded well to the early alarm calls.
“They were champing at the bit to get out and I suppose the weather isn’t too bad either so that maybe helped. There has been great enthusiasm shown for it,” said Gilroy.
“Look, it’s only for a couple of weeks that we do that. It gets them back into it and means lads aren’t out every night of the week.”
Well regarded Dublin footballer David Henry, meanwhile, has brought the curtain down on his inter-county career after 10 years in the blue jersey. The 31-year-old opted out after a meeting with team boss Gilroy at the weekend.
Former Dublin manager Paul Caffrey led the tributes to Raheny star Henry. “They say nice guys don’t always come out on top but Davy Henry proved that wrong. In my nine years with Dublin, he was one of the nicest fellas I’ve ever dealt with,” Caffrey said.
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NEW Waterford manager Michael Ryan has claimed that star hurler Eoin Kelly was dropped from the county panel over concerns about his fitness.
The former all-star was a shock absentee when Ryan named his training squad for the 2012 season, with the manager forced to explain himself on local radio station WLR FM, when he claimed that Kelly had performed poorly in a fitness test and then “refused to meet with management to discuss their concerns.”
Ryan said: “We met with Eoin Kelly in October as we did a number of other players. He was then brought in for a fitness assessment and a gym program for seven weeks.
“At the end of seven weeks, he was called in, as the rest of the players were, and given a fitness test by Pat Flanagan. The results of that test were disappointing, to be honest.
“I then contacted Eoin and I said to him that we were going to invite him to join the panel for the month of January and see would that make any difference, on one condition that he came in and met us.
“He refused to meet us and I said to him very specifically, ‘Eoin, do you realize by not meeting us the consequences of your decision?’
“He said, ‘I do.’ I said, ‘Okay, will you think about that overnight and I’ll come back and talk to you tomorrow?’ So I rang him again the following day and again, Eoin said that he hadn’t changed his mind. That was exactly as he felt.
“So, in effect, Eoin Kelly has effectively ruled himself out of the squad for the moment.”
FERMANAGH boss Peter Canavan made a winning start in his new job as his adopted county beat Antrim in the McKenna Cup on Sunday as big full-forward Seamus Quigley scored a goal and eight points on the day.
“There are areas of Seamus’s play we’ll look at, where he made mistakes and got caught up in a few things, but certainly his goal was a fantastic finish, and not too many could find it the way Seamie did,” said Canavan afterwards.
“I can only judge him on this past couple of weeks and I must say he has been as dedicated as any player that has come to training. He’s putting in maximum effort and that’s what I am judging him on so far. He’s no different to the other 30 on the panel.”
The relatively easy win for Fermanagh did take new boss Canavan by surprise.
He added, “I was a bit worried coming into the game about our standard of fitness, but I must say I’ve been very impressed with the players’ attitude in training and it was very much displayed here today.”
MAYO great Conor Mortimer celebrated his return to inter-county action after an 18 month injury nightmare with two points as a substitute in the FBD League win over Leitrim at the weekend.
“The obvious thing to say is it’s good to be back, but it is. It’s a long road but you do the hard work and you do your program. You put your head down and that’s the way it is,” Mortimer told the Irish Examiner.
“When you’re talking to some people who have broken down the second time and the cruciate has gone on them again, it rings home just how important it is to do things right.
“But I played a few club games before Christmas and I’ve been training the last four months. The confidence is back in the head, as such.
“When that’s there, you know you’re on the right track. You can only go by what the surgeon tells you and I’ve done that.”
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GRAHAM Geraghty will act as a player and selector with Seamus McEnaney’s Meath squad for the 2012 season. McEnaney told RTE Radio, “Graham joined my backroom team as a selector, and he is now back in full training for the last few weeks. He certainly has a role to play on the field as well as his role as a selector.
“Graham Geraghty is a fantastic footballer, and he has a contribution to make to this Meath team both as a player and as a selector, and I have no doubt he will be able to contribute in both roles.”
MONAGHAN boss Seamus McEnaney has confirmed that former Meath manager Eamonn O’Brien is helping him out on a part-time basis with the county team. “We had mutual friends and would have talked about football at different times on nights out. He will be assisting us with certain areas, but not full-time,” said McEnaney . . .
MEATH will meet Louth in the second round of the O’Byrne Cup next Sunday after a three point win over Wexford in Navan. Offaly were easy winners over Westmeath in the same competition while Kildare had little trouble seeing off Dublin IT. DCU scored a one-point victory away to Wicklow, while UCD were four point winners over Laois . . .
DOWN rallied late on to beat Armagh by eight points in the Dr. McKenna Cup on Sunday when Tyrone beat Queens University and Monaghan were too good for the students of St. Mary’s. Derry beat visitors Cavan while Ulster champions Donegal went down by two points at home to UUJ . . .
GAA Former Mayo boss John Maughan was the winning coach as his NUIG students defeated Galway in the FBD League at Tuam Stadium. Mayo were too good for Leitrim and Sligo were easy winners over London. The Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology drew with Roscommon . . .
THE GAA will introduce match suspensions for some offenses this season in the national league and inter-county championships. Bans will now be for a set number of games rather than weeks for some offenses . . .
ALL-Ireland winner Liam Sheedy from Tipperary will manage the Munster hurling team in the forthcoming Railway Cup series. Cork’s Ger O’Sullivan will take charge of the footballers . . .
ALL-Ireland winner Ross O’Carroll has dropped off the Dublin football panel and switched allegiances to the county hurlers for the 2012 season . . .
TIPPERARY star Seamus Callanan is to undergo ankle surgery and will miss a large part of the National Hurling League campaign . . .
CLARE entrepreneur Martin Donnelly is to continue as sponsor for next month’s inter-provincial football and hurling championships . . .
KERRY’S Anthony Maher faces weeks on the sidelines after damaging a shoulder during a game with the Limerick university side . . .
TRALEE IT, Tipperary and Clare were preliminary round winners in the McGrath Cup football competition in Munster at the weekend . . .
MONAGHAN forward Conor McManus expects to make a return to the county squad in two months time after hip surgery . . .
FORMER Dublin footballer Niall Corkery is likely to transfer to London after moving to work in the English capital.