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'He has to be given an opportunity' - Reserve judgement on Farrell for two years, insists Barney Rock

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Dessie Farrell. Photo: Sportsfile

Dessie Farrell. Photo: Sportsfile

Dessie Farrell. Photo: Sportsfile

There was probably no series of events or sequence of results that would have kept Dublin out of the headlines this spring.

The five-in-a-row history-makers had lost their commander in chief during the close season. It was an open secret that Jim Gavin's most likely successor was Dessie Farrell, but now every detail of Dublin's performances is being pored over.

Farrell has been handed the best job in GAA and the one that comes with the greatest expectations. He inherits the best set of footballers in the country but also comes into a county that knows almost nothing but success these days. Guiding Dublin to a sixth successive All-Ireland title would be an incredible achievement but anything less would bring criticism and questions. There is no margin for error for Farrell or his squad.

"There is always going to be a judgment call with Dublin because you had seven years of unbelievable success with Jim," former Dublin hero Barney Rock reflected.

"The way it worked out and I suppose Dessie has come in and come off his minor and U-21 teams and people are always going to judge him on what Jim has done.

"But he has to be given an opportunity. He has a great core of players there and I have no doubt he is trying to look at other players he would have had as well and make the panel bigger and stronger.

"So the judgment for Dessie will be probably in 12 months or two years.

"But you have to give him a chance, it is a different structure for him and they have a lot of players in at the minute and over the course of the next few weeks they will have to get a panel of players going forward for the championship."

"When you look at Jim he brought through a couple of lads all the time. He brought through (Brian) Howard, he brought through (Niall) Scully at the time, and those fellas were brought on and the likes of Paul Flynn was left to one side, Diarmuid Connolly wasn't picked.

"And these young lads were coming in and people were saying 'why isn't Paul Flynn coming in' - different managers have different approaches and needs and in fairness to Jim he did introduce a lot of young lads and he binded them in well. I'm sure Dessie is trying to do that at the minute."

Farrell has cast the net wide and Dublin have been at their brilliant best on occasion this year while also failing to hit their usual high standards.

They rallied brilliantly to reel in Kerry and Monaghan but have looked well off the pace and were caught by Tyrone last time out.

They haven't exuded their natural authority but that could be a result of experimentation and the fact that they were back late to training and still have some heavyweight names to return.

"At the time everyone thought Jim was staying and in all fairness to him, for him he did the right thing but he probably could have done it a little earlier from a Dublin point of view," Rock said of Farrell's appointment.

"It is tough on Dessie but he has been there. Dessie is a level-headed fella, he dealt with the GPA (Gaelic Players Association), ran the whole thing at the start, so there are loads of things but he will be used to it.

"The judgment will always be what happens and what success he gets because there's an element with a lot of people in Dublin, even with kids, that have never seen Dublin being beaten. Having said that there is a good crop coming through and it is up to him to bind them together."

Chasing

And while the analysis of Dublin will continue for the remainder of the National League, Rock doesn't expect to see the best of the Dubs until the business end of the championship. Meanwhile, the chasing pack will jostle for position.

"People will always think Kerry, because people are expecting Kerry to come, and now all of a sudden it's Galway after they beat Tyrone and have great potential when you consider the three club All-Irelands that Corofin have won," added Rock.

"Pádraic Joyce has seemed to get a few of them back in and that is going to help them a good bit. I'm sure come the Leinster Championship it will be all played down to get into the Super 8s and that's where the championship really starts.

"Dublin have to just mind themselves that they don't take their eye off the ball up to that because (they need) momentum - Dublin in the past have gotten great momentum through the Leinster campaign and going into the Super 8s," Rock concluded.

Irish Independent