Sunday 22 September 2019

'If I was looking at Man United I'd love to see them getting beaten' - Declan Darcy says funding criticism is unfair

Dublin selector Declan Darcy. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Dublin selector Declan Darcy. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Declan Darcy. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Declan Darcy has seen both sides of the coin. He's been with the 'haves' and worked among the 'have-nots'. Having a Dublin heart and Leitrim blood gives him a balanced view of the GAA world.

So he's sanguine when it comes to the debate about resources and population. Leitrim and Dublin are always cited as the polar opposites. Juxtaposed against each other as an example of an inequitable world in which counties are asked to operate in the pursuit of the same prize.

Dublin are the kings of football just now and heavy lies the crown. After the decade of the dubs, Darcy agrees that human nature decrees that it's time for a different winner.

"Like, if I was looking at Man United I'd love to see (them) getting beaten, or whoever is winning all the time," Darcy says.

"I just think that's human nature. I think they see this team, they understand what's going on and then they try to pick holes in it.

"The easy one would obviously be to go after population, funding, you know, 'what can we do to stop them?' We can't control that.

"It's probably a little bit unfair on them to have to experience that because people just want to see them beaten. You'd nearly think we'd be better off just losing a game to stop all that. Then we can start over again."

That last line is delivered with a smile on his face but there's the sense that Darcy is only half-joking, and there's a sense of fatigue around the issue for the current Dublin football squad. As if standing on the brink of history is a stick to beat them with instead of something to laud them for.

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They could use it and try and create a siege mentality. It's a rudimentary tool but an often used and powerful one.

Instead, they try and keep everything out. If you're not in the group you don't matter.

"I've played with Dublin myself and the sideshow can get (big)," he recalls.

Talk is cheap. And dangerous.

"You know yourself when Dublin go to play, you could have an awful lot of people at the game that... it's kind of like a traditional day out and there's a lot of people that maybe come to games that wouldn't even know all the players' names.

"Especially when the team starts to function well, everyone wants to be a part of it. And there are dangers to that.

"People get a misread on where they are in their football careers. And then that's when the sucker-punch comes, when you're not expecting it, in a sporting context. Listening to people outside of the environment can delude you, 'You're going to win the next game by 10 points'. Well, if I let that into my head, as sure as f**k we're going to get beaten.

"You know yourself, it's not rocket science and we just need to try to keep it as real as possible."

These last few weeks Darcy would have earned his corn.

It comes as a surprise to many but despite playing much of his football in attack, he has worked as defence coach under Gavin since they were with the county's U-21s.

With their various options through Tommy Walsh, David Clifford, Stephen O'Brien and others, Kerry will pose as tricky a puzzle as he has faced.

"Kerry always have the forwards and they have a way of playing that is very effective, particularly in their forward line.

"They've always had that in their game, in their locker, and that was epitomised by Stephen O'Brien's goal; (Paul) Geaney's soft hands and his thought process to realise that he was sucking them out and nice soft hands to release the ball in for Stephen.

"They've always had traditional footballers who pride themselves on what they are and who they represent.

"Look at their minor footballers - left foot, right foot. They just have a great way of treating the game."

But whatever Kerry bring, Dublin will need the cool heads they showed against Mayo.

"Well, if you panic, you're not going to be able to function. So what's the point in panicking. You could do a Davy Fitz on it all right and go (bananas), but is that going to last too long with these players?

"They're at a level where they need qualified information, they need everyone to be calm and to function. That's the way we view it, there's no point in getting carried away because you're not going to do service to the group if you do that."

Irish Independent

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