independent

Wednesday 27 August 2014

'Soft' door exit pays off handsomely

Rory Kerr

Published 17/09/2013 | 15:45

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WHEN Tommy Lyons called time on the playing careers of Declan Darcy and Jim Gavin at the start of the millenium it seemed as if the two would ride off quietly into the sunset.

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However, the Offaly man offered them what Darcy described as the soft door approach - by handing them the chance to manage the under-21 team.

Subsequently, Dublin would go on to defeat Tyrone in 2003, and 10 years later the two, along with Mick Kennedy and the rest of the management team, will be hoping to go one better by lifting the ultimate prize.

Darcy captained Leitrim to a Connacht title in 1994, but the St Brigids man admits the day passed him by to some extent.

'Winning the Connacht title with Leitrim was brilliant, but I was only 23 or 24 at the time so I didn't really embrace the whole occasion.

'All I wanted to do was play and get to an All-Ireland final. Would I ever have thought I'd see this day? Probably not - I'm over the moon to be here and very privileged.'

Darcy did not hold back in his praise for his former teammate and colleague.

'Jim and myself also got on very well as players; we bonded together well as teammates, and this year I'd have to say we have maybe one or two nights where we just relax and have a quiet pint, but it's been such a roller coaster.

'He's put huge work into this and there is so much to be done. We have to work harder than everyone else and set the tone for the players.'

Darcy took particular satisfaction from Dublin's semi-final win over Kerry.

'The last day was a superb occasion, there is no question, and to be part of that was just great.

'I have every respect for them, but to beat Kerry and to play well in the process - that's a big tip of the hat for anybody.

'To beat a team like Kerry especially when they are going hard at it is great.'

Nonetheless, Darcy believes that Dublin's perceived inability to convert their chances needs to be rectified if Dublin are to find a way past Mayo on Sunday.

'We need to work on our conversion rate, to be honest. Some guys react differently when they are in the white heat of battle. It's something we need to work on, and while we did improve on it the last day there is still more work to be done in that regard.'

While Dublin forwards have been given licence to shoot on site, Darcy also maintains that the right option must be taken too.

'We don't go after fellows that do have a go. Sometimes it depends on a certain player that has the ball who gives the pass or draws the man to give the pass to the other fellow.

'So there are some fellows that do it and some fellows that don't. That may be a critique of some, but it's up to us to make sure if that player is in the same position he does the correct thing for the team.'

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