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'It was a great move' - Paul Mannion hails Dublin's O'Donnell addition

Paul Mannion chats about hurling captain Eoghan O’Donnell joining the football panel and his summer playing football in America.

Image: Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO

THREE-TIME ALL-star Paul Mannion believes ‘it was a great move’ by Dessie Farrell to invite former Dublin hurling captain Eoghan O’Donnell to join the county senior football squad. 

O’Donnell linked with the team after the hurlers were knocked out of the championship. It remains to be seen if he will make the matchday squad for their quarter-final clash with Cork this Saturday. 

“I was a bit surprised, but when I thought about it then it made sense,” said Mannion. “When the hurlers were out sure.

“I’ve never played with Eoghan or seen him play, but I’ve heard from Cormac Costello and others that he’s brilliant. He obviously brings a lot of leadership and a different perspective from the Dublin hurling team so I think it was a great move by management to get him in.

“Fair play to Eoghan as well for taking on the challenge.

“It will be a tricky one for him, walking into a new dressing room late in the season but, look, he has a tonne of experience from the hurling and I’m sure he’ll be fine and the lads will help him settle in too.” 

aib-senior-football-championship-launch-2022 Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

Mannion dismissed the idea the move could ruffle some feathers if O’Donnell is suddenly parachuted in to play ahead of other squad members. 

“I don’t think it will piss off anyone. I think there’s enough experience and maturity in the team to say, look, no matter what happens, there’s only one thing that’s most important here and that’s getting to an All-Ireland final.

“Some lads might be disappointed but they won’t be moping around or throwing the toys out of the pram. Look, who knows, he mightn’t be starting. He mightn’t see much game-time but he’ll be certainly adding to it in training games and so on.”

The Kilmacud clubman will be watching from afar, having made the move to the US to kick ball for the summer. 

The 29-year-old left the Dublin panel at the end of 2020. He will play for Donegal Boston for the next two months before returning for the opening round of the Dublin club championship in August. 

“Part of me felt a bit silly coming out here thinking like, Jesus, I’m a bit old to do this J1 type summer again. It was just April or May, I know a couple of people out here and they had been asking me to come out. I’d say no a few times because I thought I’d be back home working away.

“I was enjoying my job at the time. I didn’t see any need to change or any desire to come out here. I had a new opportunity then to start a new job in August, around that time then I was like, ‘right. I am moving jobs, this would line up well. Enjoy a couple of months off, line that up with the time off from work.’ It worked out well on that front. 

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“It is going well. Playing with Donegal Boston here. We’re two games in, won both of them.

“It is tough. A different kind of challenge. 13-aside, probably tighter pitch. Seriously warm as well, something to get used to. Teams that love to sow it into all these new lads arriving over, it is good craic. Enjoying it so far. 

“They do take it serious. For them, it is their club championship so I wouldn’t even say it is not as serious as the club championship. They train quite hard but they do want the lads coming out to have a fun summer as well and that kind of thing.

“The odd weekend off and there are good things to do, it is nice. Enjoy summer in a new city while still being able to train and prepare for a club championship as well.”

 Paul Mannion was speaking at the launch of AIB’s new content series Drive as part of its sponsorship of the 2022 GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.  

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Maurice Brosnan

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