Dubs split debate hard to ignore for boss Dessie Farrell

by Stephen Findlater
  • Dublin manager Dessie Farrell. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell says the debate over the county’s resources “could be a very different discussion after Saturday week” if his side are denied a sixth successive All-Ireland senior football championship title.

It came in the wake of the sky blue’s comprehensive semi-final win over Cavan, adding to a cruise through Leinster with an average winning margin of over 17 points.

With five titles on the spin already registered and seven since 2011, conversation has intensified over the greater resources available in the capital in terms of population size and financial clout, be it from sponsors or GAA supports.

It came to a head on the Sunday Game with Colm O’Rourke calling for the splitting of the county into three or four teams.

And while Farrell has attempted to avoid some of the noise in the lead-up to his first All-Ireland final as senior boss, he admits it has been almost impossible to escape.

“On the one hand, you’re obviously trying not to engage in it because it can become a distraction and there’s enough to be getting on with,” he said at Tuesday’s press briefing at Parnel Park.

“On the other, it’s hard to ignore because it comes up in conversation and while I do my best to be disciplined around reading stuff and engaging in social media and that, obviously it was interesting to see it got a platform on the Sunday Game the other night.

“Like, it’s always been there but it’s more particularly pronounced in the last couple of weeks.

“It may be a sense that with Jim [Gavin] and the management team gone and a couple of players, Jack [McCaffrey] and Diarmuid Connolly, that there probably may have been an expectation that Dublin having won five and this is the sixth year and would there be a wane in the appetite?

“Then, with Covid and the disruption, there’s a lot of change that has happened and probably there was some expectation you may see a dip in Dublin’s performance.

“I think that might be fuelling some of the discussion then, that there’s a little bit of frustration or anger or disappointment from others in relation to that, that this dip hasn’t actually appeared.”

He also feels the argument in 2020 about Dublin superiority has been coloured by a reasonably favourable draw in this year’s adjusted format, encountering none of the Division One form sides to date.

“The reason I think it hasn’t appeared is because the team have obviously applied themselves really, really well and have performed really well. But you’d have to ask the question, have we been truly tested yet?

“When you think about it, we’ve played a team that has been relegated from Division 1, we’ve played two teams in Division 2 and a team that has been relegated from Division 2 to Division 3.

“That’s not being disrespectful to any opposition but it’s the obvious thing.

“It’s been put to us and it’s been put to me, has this Dublin team been tested yet?

“I think people need to sort of weigh that or factor that into the discussion at the minute because it could be a very different discussion that’s being had after Saturday week.”

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