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Dessie Farrell- The New Dublin Boss

Dessie Farrell- The New Dublin Boss

Fri, 13th December 2019

Dessie Farrell was last week confirmed as Dublin's new senior football manager, like his two predecessors, Jim Gavin and Pat Gilroy, he was a member of the 1995 All-Ireland SFC winning team.

Despite several very serious knee injuries Dessie enjoyed a long senior career with the Dubs.

The Na Fianna forward played 103 times for Dublin's seniors (combined NFL and SFC) having made his senior NFL debut when scoring the only goal of the game as the boys in blue defeated Mayo (1-9 to 0-10) in MacHale Park, Castlebar in February 1992.

Three months later he tallied 0-2 from play when making his SFC debut against Offaly in O'Connor Park, Tullamore, helping Dublin to a comprehensive 2-17 to 1-9 victory.

That season Dessie won the first of his six Leinster SFC medals (1992, 93, 94, 95, 2002, 2005). He was an inspirational centre-forward in 1995 when Dublin lifted the Sam Maguire for the first time since 1983 and was honoured with an All Star.

The curtain came down on his intercounty career as Dublin made their exit from the 2005 Championship, losing an All-Ireland quarter-final to Tyrone when scoring a late goal against the Red Hands.

During his senior intercounty days he played under six managers - Paddy Cullen, Pat O'Neill, Mickey Whelan, Tommy Carr, Tommy Lyons and Paul 'Pillar' Caffrey.

At club level Dessie was an integral part of the Na Fianna side that won three Dublin SFC in-a-row between 1999 and 2001.

Prior to his senior career with the Dubs Dessie was a minor footballer for three years 1987, 88, 89, winning a Leinster title in 1988 before losing an All-Ireland final to Kerry.

He represented the county at under-21 level in both football and hurling, captaining the hurlers during that spell. He also represented Ireland in hockey at U21 level.

Dessie will be very familiar with many of the personalities in the Dublin dressing room having been involved in the Dublin development squad system, managing Dublin to an All-Ireland MFC success in 2012 (their first since 1984) and two All-Ireland U21FC titles in 2014 and 2017.

Since his announcement as Dublin's new manager many of his former teammates have commended his appointment as the Dubs embark on a new era.

"We've always looked at how we can improve as a football team, that's the bit we can control. I'm sure Dessie will do something similar," said Jim Gavin, the man who managed Dublin to six All-Ireland titles including the historic five in-a-row.

"He's been involved with 21s and minor teams, I played with him back when we were minor as well and with the Dublin seniors so I know Dessie very well, it's a fantastic choice for Dublin.

"I just wish him and the players the best of success. I'm really excited and looking forward to going to watch them next year. We've always taken a very much player-centric approach, the players set the bar and high standards for themselves," added Jim.

Alan Brogan said: "There are few enough people who could stand in front of that panel now and instantly command their respect. But Dessie is definitely one of them.

"There’s obviously a credibility issue walking into a dressing-room where some players have seven All-Ireland medals, but that won’t be a factor now for Dessie.

"Most of the lads will have played under him at minor and under-21 level. All will have an awareness for his passion for football, for players and most importantly now, for Dublin football."

Ciarán Whelan said: "The credentials are certainly there and he has delivered success wherever he has been in charge and you could argue that his experiences follow a similar template to those of Jim Gavin, who cut his managerial teeth with the county’s under-21 teams.

"It should help hugely that Farrell is familiar with a large number of the panel, having managed them at underage level, and there’s no reason to suggest that the strong bonds developed back then will have diluted with time.

"He has all the qualities to succeed and as far as I am concerned, his appointment is the right decision for Dublin football.

"He is steeped in the GAA, steeped in the development of football in the county and he has played a massive role in the development of players that have become household names throughout the country."

Paul Curran, like Jim Gavin, Pat Gilroy and Dessie Farrell an All-Ireland SFC winner in 1995, said: "I had the pleasure of soldering in blue with Dessie for over a decade and if there was a more committed player back then, I certainly didn’t meet him.

"He was a terrific player who was brave, accurate and a very difficult man to stop once he got his hands on the ball. In 1995 he had an outstanding season on the 'forty' and had many more great seasons after that when operating mainly at top of the right.

"Dessie also has a great track record in management with Dublin underage teams and has tasted success with the minors in 2012 and two U21 titles in 2104 and 2017, so a high proportion of the current senior squad has played under him.

"That has to be a huge advantage going into next season. The respect is already a given and the players know that they are getting someone who is very serious about Dublin football and ambitious.

He will do everything in his power to keep this team at the top of the pile."

Current Dublin footballer Ciarán Kilkenny was managed by Dessie at minor and U21 level, in fact the Castleknock clubman was a member of Dessie's first developement squad panel - the Dublin West selection in 2006.

“A lot of us have played under Dessie before so we’re really excited for the next chapter.”

Brian Fenton, who won an U21 All-Ireland under Dessie's management in 2014, said: “We’ve a lot of respect there for him and he comes with a nice pedigree as well. We’re looking forward to it, a huge challenge."

A look at the senior panels of the past three years who have played for Dublin's seniors during the O'Byrne Cup, NFL and/or SFC highlights the vast array of players who have played at minor and/or U21 with Dessie as manager highlights his knowledge of players across the county.

This year it was the case for the following: Colm Basquel, Shane Boland, Seán Bugler, Aaron Byrne, Evan Comerford, Darren Gavin, Jack Hazley, Cormac Howley, Tom Lahiff, Oisín Lynch, Robbie McDaid, Conor McHugh, Seán McMahon, Conor Mullally, Cian O'Connor, Callum Pearson, Stephen Smith, David Byrne, Cormac Costello, Brian Fenton, Brian Howard, Ciarán Kilkenny, Eric Lowndes, Paul Mannion, Jack McCaffrey, Andrew McGowan, Eoin Murchan, Con O'Callaghan, Niall Scully, John Small and Paddy Small.

Adding to that list the following played some part of the Dubs at senior level (O'Byrne Cup/NFL/SFC) Shane Carthy (Nh Mearnóg), Kieran Doherty, Graham Hannigan, Ross McGowan, Emmett O Conghaile, Killian O'Gara, Glenn O'Reilly, Chris Sallier and Niall Walsh.

In 2017 the following (apart from those mentioned already) were in the O'Byrne Cup and/or NFL panel - Shane Cunningham, Michael Deegan, Robbie Gaughan, Gavin Ivory, Matias Mac Donncha, Seán Newcombe and Cillian O'Shea. while back in 2016 two players who are currently impressing with recently crowned Leinster club senior champions, Ballyboden St Enda's, Aran Waters and Shane Clayton also played under Dessie at U21 level.

With Dessie now the senior football manager he will be relinquishing his support role with the senior hurlers that he provided last summer.

Dublin hurling manager Mattie Kenny said: "A great guy; a great speaker; a great motivator; a very intelligent guy ... I suppose we’re a little bit disappointed that he’s not with us in the coming year, but everyone in the management team, every one of the players, is delighted that he’s taking on this new challenge now.

“With his experience and credentials, what he has achieved as a player and in his managerial career so far, it’s a challenge he’s going to be well able for.

"He’s going into a highly motivated squad and I’m sure Dessie, while maybe not changing them much, will bring his own experience to that and I’m sure they’ll be very, very successful in the coming years.”

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