Dessie Farrell brings perfect pedigree for Dublin role

by Cóilín Duffy

Dessie Farrell will lead the Dublin senior footballers in 2020, taking over the mantle from Jim Gavin as manager with confirmation coming at the Dublin GAA convention on Thursday night.

The Na Fianna clubman’s appointment was announced by outgoing Dublin GAA chairman Sean Shanley to delegates.

Farrell will set about appointing his selectors in the coming days, although it is likely that there will be little change in the back-room setup, according to new chairman Michael Seavers.

“We’ve had discussions with Dessie about what he wants in the background,” Seavers said.

“We have offered our expertise. We aren’t going to be, and we never have been, a county that puts restrictions on somebody. We trust him to do the job.

“We have a lot of the professionalism and methodology in place from Jim’s time, and we don’t see a need to break it up.

“From talking to Dessie, he doesn’t see too either. We take all of the things that are going to make us better, and I don’t think there will be much alteration to what is already there – if it’s not broken why fix it?!”

The former Gaelic Players Association chief executive brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having guided Dublin minor and Under-21 teams to All-Ireland successes.

Farrell won an All-Ireland senior football title alongside Gavin in 1995, and is seen by many as his natural successor as senior manager.

Seavers says Gavin’s boots will be tough to fill.

“It’s a hard act to follow, that page is now closed. Dessie followed the same apprenticeship that Jim followed, with All-Irelands at Under-21 level.

“He told us in our discussions with him the pain of losing the minor final to Tipperary in 2011 is as good a learning curve as it was for the senior footballers with Donegal.

“Dessie is well qualified. With him, it will be a case of man managing, because of the ability of the guys.

“He does recognise that they are super athletes, and they are so humble. He’ll just build on that culture Jim and his backroom team have.

“We have full confidence in Dessie that the team will still be there or thereabouts [challenging for All-Irelands].”

Seavers says that it is important for the progression of the team, that Farrell has worked with many of the current Dublin senior players in the past at underage levels.

“It’s very important for Dublin; we tended to be ‘gung-ho’ over the years, a manager stepped down and everything went,” he said.

“As a county board, we were conscious that we had a role in the background, that we had professional people – medical people, S&C and nutrition; that we took on board, and they now are our backroom team, and they are the people we can offer to the likes of Dessie and Mattie [Kenny].

“It takes a lot of pressure off that they don’t have to go searching for these things, that they are inherent within Dublin GAA.

“We have also identified that we have to create the ‘culture of Dublin’ – the love of the jersey and what it stands for.”

Dublin face an O’Byrne Cup semi in mid January, before an Allianz League opener against Kerry on January 25 at Croke Park.

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