Clarke confirmed as Farrell refuses to rule out further additions to backroom set-up

ON THE LINE: Paul Clarke. Pic: Sportsfile

Conor McKeon

Paul Clarke was confirmed as one of Dessie Farrell's selectors on Saturday evening, shortly after emerging from the tunnel in Croke Park.

Clarke, along with fellow 1995 All-Ireland winner Mick Galvin and Shane O'Hanlon - who was a selector during Jim Gavin's tenure - were listed as Farrell's backroom on the big screen in Croke Park after weeks of speculation but no official confirmation.

Afterwards however, Farrell half-hinted that there could be a future addition or even additions. "That's the management team for now, yeah," he replied simply when asked.

Clarke is also a survivor of Gavin's management team, having been part of the group since 2018.

This will be the third stint with the Dublin seniors, having been the team's coach under Paul 'Pillar' Caffrey.

Along with Bryan Cullen, who is understood to be taking an enhanced role, Clarke will conduct much of the squad's training, although it is in this area that Farrell is likeliest to recruit further.

Josh Moran, who was also part of the last regime, will again work with the Dublin goalkeepers.


The other outstanding appointment, that of Dublin's captain for the year, wasn't settled on Saturday night.

James McCarthy led the team out and filled that role for the evening, the first occasion he has captained the Dublin seniors.

Farrell clarified however that there was "no decision on captaincy just yet".

"We just felt tonight it was an honour that James has earned over the last number of years and I think he performed admirably as captain, as well."

Stephen Cluxton has been the team's captain since 2013 although he is out injured, mostly likely until the end of the league.

For the past two years, Jonny Cooper has been vice-captain, leading the team to the 2018 Leinster title while Cluxton nursed an injury during the provincial final.

Cooper was one of five players who started last year's All-Ireland final replay who did not play any part on Saturday night.

Cluxton, Michael Fitzsimons, Jack McCaffrey and Con O'Callagahn were the others.

Asked whether he would have any extra playing resources available for next Saturday's trip to Castlebar, Farrell replied: "We're literally taking it week by week at this stage.

"Some fellas need rest, some fellas are injured, some fellas have work commitments and we're going to play that one by ear."

Michael Darragh Macauley (right), who nursed a groin injury during Ballyboden St Enda's recent Dublin SFC and Leinster successes won't play for at least a month, although Farrell said there was no precise diagnosis yet.

"Michael is going to be out for a period. I'm not too sure just yet how long but he probably won't be involved in the first three league games anyway.

Asked whether the injury would require surgery, he replied: "The doctors are looking at that now. Not sure at this point in time what's required."

On the subject of the attacking mark, Farrell was still circumspect about its value.

Dublin took four marks in the Kerry '45' to just one for Peter Keane's team and the Dublin manager revealed they had worked on it in the limited time they had to prepare for his first league game at the helm.

"In the little bit we did, we did a bit of practice on that," he explained.

"Obviously the advanced mark is very new to both attacking players and defensive players. We didn't get much time with it, it's still early days and I think the jury is still out."

Farrell also echoed Peter Keane's concerns about the reversion to teams being permitted to make just five substitutions.

"I think just generally, if you look at other sports," he outlined, "there's a tendency to want to load more and more subs on, roll on, roll off and what that does, it keeps the tempo of the games really, really high."