GAA Football

New blood will come through says Dublin manager Dessie Farrell after loss to Mayo

Dublin's Dean Rock shoots as Mayo's Pádraig O'Hora and Aidan O'Shea dive in to block on Saturday. Pic Philip Walsh
Andy Watters

THE end of an era or a temporary blip? After Dublin lost the Sam Maguire they’ve held for six seasons on his watch, manager Dessie Farrell held his hands up and conceded that “the best team won on the day”.

So have Dublin had their day? Some of the great warhorses will now shuffle off the stage but Farrell insists that there are talented young players capable of filling their boots - if they are allowed time to develop.

“Dublin supporters will remember when there was a dearth of success in this county and that’s not too long ago,” he said.

“I’m sure they appreciate what’s gone on in the last number of years and they’ll afford the team and these players whatever level of patience or courtesy they need. Who knows what lies ahead?

“If there is transition and the team continues to evolve, there’s still a lot of good, young blood in there and they’ll be excited about what the future holds for them. It’s important for the management, the county board and supporters not to quench those dreams and to create an environment where they can flourish and step up to have the same success as the previous generation.”

At half-time on Saturday it seemed that the old script would be played out again. Dublin led by six points against a Mayo side that was struggling to contain them at one end and break them down at the other. But the westerners turned the game around, forcing extra-time and then beating their old nemesis in the Championship for the first time since 2012.

Farrell said there was “massive disappointment” in the Dublin dressingroom.

“What that group, or the vast majority of them, have achieved has been tremendous and they managed to keep going back to the well and keep doing it and doing it,” he said.

“I can assure you that isn’t easy when you know the hours that go into it and the commitment that is required.

“A lot of people see players turn up on a Saturday or Sunday and they don’t really understand how it takes hold of your life outside of that. For them to consistently do that over the last five-six years has been a phenomenal achievement.

“Some of them have experienced defeat before but a lot of them haven’t so overwhelmingly it’s disappointment in the dressingroom and that’s natural.

“It was tough to watch in the second half and a lot of those lads have been such warriors down the years that you could see that the bodies were tired and it was hard for them to regenerate any level of momentum in the second half. That’s the nature of sport, sometimes those things happen and it’s hard to come up with a fix or a solution for it.”

Philly McMahon had said this season would be his last and James McCarthy, Michael Fitzsimons and Jonny Cooper are among the others who may consider their future at inter-county level.

“We’re always in a state of transition,” said Farrell.

“Players come and go and there has been a significant amount of that over the last two seasons. I’m not sure what is going to happen next season, I’m sure some individuals will reflect on where they’re at and ask can they go again.

“It’s not easy to keep going to the well but it’ll be a decision for some. There’s a lot of new blood in there as well. They need time and exposure and there’ll be a lot of fellas looking forward to getting that type of time when the National League comes around.”

The Dublin manager said he had “huge admiration” for a Mayo side that has had the last laugh after a series of painful, sometimes humiliating, defeats at Dublin hands.

“Dublin have been humble and showed a lot of humility over the years and we’re exceptional gracious in defeat as well,” he said.

“Hats off to Mayo, that second half performance… We just couldn’t live with them and the best team won.”

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