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'Obviously there has been a period of transition' - Farrell on talk of Dublin's demise

Dublin failed to beat the handicap in all three of their Leinster SFC outings.

The Dublin team celebrate with the Delaney Cup.
The Dublin team celebrate with the Delaney Cup.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Updated Aug 2nd 2021, 3:01 PM

DESSIE FARRELL HAS brushed off talk that there are question marks surrounding Dublin because of their failure to blow away the competition in Leinster this season.

Their combined winning margin over Wexford, Meath and Kildare was 22 points, while they had 17 points to spare in last year’s decider against the Royals alone. 

While conceding they have plenty to work on, the Dublin boss is satisfied with where his team are as an All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo looms in two weeks. 

“I don’t necessarily see it as a concern. We just have to take every game on its own merits and you can’t look back and compare to what has gone on.

“You have to look forward and understand and interpret the challenge that lies ahead, and get yourself right for that. Ultimately it is about winning games and being as competitive as you can to win games and that is what we are going out to do.”

Stephen Cluxton, Eric Lowndes, Michael Darragh Macauley, Paul Mannion, Paddy Andrews and Cian O’Sullivan have all departed the squad since their 2020 All-Ireland victory, following the exit of Jack McCaffrey earlier in the year.

Dublin haven’t lost a championship game since 2014 and their stuttering form so far this summer has prompted many pundits to predict they’ll fail to make it seven Celtic Crosses in-a-row this year.

Asked if the narrative around Dublin’s demise has entered his psyche, Farrell responded: “No, it doesn’t to be honest because I think that does a disservice to the group, to the players who are there.

“Obviously there has been a period of transition, fellas have retired so it is a different look to the team to two years ago in the panel at least and that is just the nature of sport. The challenge for us is to continue to move forward and regenerate and that is what we tried to do.

dean-rock-and-brian-howard-celebrate-after-the-game Dean Rock and Brian Howard after the game. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“We don’t focus really on what the narrative is out there. That will be for others. All we can do is, to use the cliche, control the controllables. And that’s how we focus on preparing and practice, and all the stuff that’s in our gift, if you like. That’s what we’ll do, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.

“You know, it is the same for every team. I don’t think we can point to that in any way. It has been a challenging period for everyone outside of sport as well.

“It is just where we are at in this stage of our evolution, it is something we are conscious of in trying to ensure that we have talent to come through the pipeline.

“That is always a question for us, who that is and how we identify that but then we are there how we can get the maximum and ensure that everything is right around them so they can lead in the way they have to lead to ensure the team moves in the right direction the whole time.”

On the game itself, Farrell felt Dublin’s performance improved from the semi-final win over Meath, when a sloppy second-half allowed the Royals back into the game.

“It was definitely better. I was chatting to some of ye here after the last one. The second-half performance was very disappointing. We were very good in the first-half.

“We definitely looked to bring more consistency across the quarters and I think we achieved that today. Without setting the world alight it was good to see greater application across the 70-odd minutes. 

“We’re happy, obviously to win a Leinster title. It’s a milestone in our calendar. Provincial titles are always important. We’re definitely very pleased with the victory today.

“You look at the performance, we’ll do a better job in assessing that in the coming days. But some pleasing aspects, possibly a lot of work-ons as well. We’ll take that as it comes in the next 48 hours or so.”

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dessie-farrell Dublin manager Dessie Farrell. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Dublin missed just one shot at the posts in the second period, following nine misses prior to the break. 

“It’s something we spoke about at half-time,” he said of their shooting efficiency. “I think it just a case of making better decisions, probably being a little bit more patient. In the first-half, we were forcing some shots from difficult angles, maybe not having the time and space to pull the trigger that way.

“It was something we discussed at half-time. I think we did a better job [in the second-half]. The way Kildare were set up, they were difficult to penetrate, so we had just had to be patient, probing, probing, wait for the right opportunity. And I think we managed that a bit better in the second half.”

He confirmed John Small left the fray with a “little cut above the eye”, while they hope to have a clean bill of health for the semi-final clash with Mayo. That includes Robbie McDaid, who failed to make the matchday 26 again yesterday.

Looking ahead to the clash against James Horan’s men, Farrell feels they’re also on an upward trajectory

“Mayo will probably be disappointed with their own first-half performance and they looked exceptionally good in the second-half. No more than ourselves against Meath I’m sure they’ll be trying to bring consistency to their performance as well against Dublin.

“It’s going to be a great tussle. There’s been very little to separate the teams over the years and we’re looking forward to it at this stage.”

First published today at 07.35

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Kevin O'Brien

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