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'They’re probably not the most talented team to put on a blue jersey'

Dessie Farrell says that what Dublin’s U21s lacked in talent, they more than made up for in sheer work-rate.

Image: Presseye/Philip Magowan/INPHO

DESSIE FARRELL HAS admitted that his Dublin U21 EirGrid All-Ireland winner are not “the most talented team to put on a blue jersey.”

But Farrell hailed “the hardest working bunch that I’ve ever been involved with,” as Dublin won the last ever final in the competition.

The former Sky Blue star and ex-GPA CEO guided Dublin to a third All-Ireland U21 crown in six seasons on Saturday, when they saw off Galway by six points in Tullamore.

And Farrell reflected: “They’re probably not the most talented team to put on a blue jersey and they won’t mind me saying that but without a shadow of a doubt they’re the hardest working bunch that I’ve ever been involved with.

I think we worked hard in creating the culture around them this year that they could thrive and prosper as players and as people as well, which is important to us. They embraced that with open arms. They were phenomenal.”

In many ways, it was a tactical masterclass from Farrell and his backroom staff, with many of Galway’s big guns nullified.

And he explained how it was important for Dublin to get their match-ups right.

He said: “A good start was always going to be important. And then the match-ups; minimising, as best we could, their main men.

“Restricting their space and time on the ball and that sort of thing. I think we did a reasonably good job of that.”

Eoin Murchan was one of Dublin’s standout performers, blunting the influence of Galway’s rising star Michael Daly.

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

And Farrell smiled: “Murchan is a brilliant bit of stuff. He did a similar job on (Stephen) McBrearty (Donegal) in the semi-final.

“He’s a small individual but he’s worth his weight in gold.”

Dublin were smart in their approach, also, conceding an average stone a man in weight to the Connacht champions.

To compensate, Farrell explained how Dublin tried to avoid contact as much as they could, moving the ball swiftly to steer clear of a “physical battle.”

He added: “As best we could, we tried taking the ball into contact and that’s something we’ve been working on all year.

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“It wasn’t something we had to introduce exclusively for this game. We definitely emphasised it coming into this game.

“A big, strong team (Galway), very physical and good in the tackle and good in the clamp and good at swarming and they turned us over many times as well. I think we did a reasonably good job of passing the ball around them, moving around them and trying to take it away from the physical battle.

“Size and physicality is important for sure and we’re not the biggest team. We worked really hard and thankfully we’ve a fair bit of pace in the team, which helped.”

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