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Paul Flynn wants the stars aligned for the Dubs

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Paul Flynn. Picture: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

Paul Flynn. Picture: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

Paul Flynn. Picture: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

WEIRD year for Paul Flynn.

Last Sunday week, he was presented his All Star for 2014 by Kieran Duff, his Fingallians clubmate and predecessor as Dublin's hardiest wing-forward.

The reason for the delayed handover was Flynn missing the official banquet back in November on account of his necessary attendance at his sister's wedding.

But the gong carried extra significance in that it was Flynn's fourth in successive years, the first Dublin player ever to achieve such a sequence and thus, he shared the honour with his Swords brethren.

In doing so, he affixed his reputation as the successor to Brian Dooher and Paul Galvin as football's greatest wing-forward.

The clubhouse rocked. Kevin McManamon's band 'The Solids' provided the tunes.

Yet there was no Sam Maguire.

On course for the perfect year, replete with titanic wins over all the pretenders, a second successive League, Leinster wrapped up as usual, Dublin botched the job in stunning fashion against Donegal in the semi-final.

conflict

To add to the conflict, Flynn even had a stunner of a game, particularly in the first half, when the long-range points of himself and Diarmuid Connolly put Dublin into a position from which no-one - possibly even those players wearing green and yellow jerseys - thought they would be toppled.

"To be honest with you, it's the same feeling really," he told The Herald of the weird emotion of an off-season shorn of the pleasure of bringing that cup to grateful hosts.

"Whether you play crap and lose or you play great and lose, it doesn't matter. It's the same feeling.

"Expectation grows because we have won All-Irelands. So anything other than winning an All-Ireland is deemed a failure. And that's just the way it is.

"I've no problem saying that. But for us, we're taking it game by game. But we want to win an All-Ireland. And if we don't, we've failed.

evaluate

"When you evaluate it and look into it, you can take a lot of positives out of it. But at the end of the day, that's looking forward to next year.

"The year was disappointing."

Even the end of it? The part where he put his name alongside the top footballers to have played the game with a fourth All Star?

"Look, it's nice," he says, giving only slight concession to such personal affectation.

"But we always say we're only looking at the next game. Or in this case, the last game.

"When you're finished, yeah, then we can admire what we've won but at the moment, it just feels like we've lost. Which we have. And that's always disappointing."

Particularly so given his team looked a more sleek and powerful version to that of 2013, when they won the All-Ireland.

"We probably were," Flynn admits, recalling the spectacular comebacks against Mayo and Cork in the final gallops of the League and their destruction jobs on both Meath and Monaghan.

"We were another year working with Jim, so we knew the system a bit better. But yeah, it's a hard one.

"We won it last year.

"But we did play really good football this year, especially towards the end of the League and the start of the Championship.

"It was really enjoyable as well," he adds. "I enjoyed every bit of it. But unfortunately we just got caught napping in the semi-final.

"Or we didn't have the ability to adapt quick enough to the onslaught of Donegal that day.

"But overall, we did progress an awful lot towards the way Jim wanted us to play. We just didn't get the result.

"And that is where it's won and lost, ultimately."

In the build-up to that Donegal game, The Sunday Game showed a clip highlighting some of Flynn's play in the preceding matches, a seg,ment they called 'The Perfect 10' referring both to the number adorning Flynn's back and the excellence which he delivers from that position.

He's nearly defining the role now.

Setting new standards. Adopting extra responsibilities.

"Jim is very open to … he makes the decisions at the end of the day … but if you go to him and say 'look, I think I should play a bit deeper for this game. It might work out a bit better.' He's receptive."

So already, Flynn's resolved to do better again next year.

vocally

Dublin want their All-Ireland back. Fingallians have lost three consecutive Dublin Intermediate finals and he's vocally determined on that particular front too.

Plus, he's getting older and in a position where physical contact is not just an inevitability, it's necessity.

"Last season, playing 70 minutes was no problem," he points out.

"When you're younger and a bit more inexperienced, you waste a lot of energy.

"You're not going to get the ball or you're not going to get space. So you're just completely wasting your energy.

"So there are a few elements of it. Yes, you're getting a bit fitter but you're also getting a bit cuter as well."

Weird year, then.

But lots learned.


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