Monday 27 January 2020

Paul Curran: 'This is something I'm sure my fellow 'ninety-fiver' wanted from the moment he stopped playing'

BATTLER: Dessie Farrell in action for Dublin against Fay Devlin of Tyrone during the All-Ireland SFC final at Croke Park in 1995. Photo: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
BATTLER: Dessie Farrell in action for Dublin against Fay Devlin of Tyrone during the All-Ireland SFC final at Croke Park in 1995. Photo: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

Paul Curran

Another 'ninety-fiver' takes the reigns, with Dessie Farrell following in the footsteps of Jim Gavin and Pat Gilroy, and there isn't a single dissenting voice among Dublin supporters. The decision was a very straight forward one and the journey continues for this great team of ours.

I had the pleasure of soldering in blue with Dessie for over a decade and if there was a more committed player back then, I certainly didn't meet him.

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He was a terrific player who was brave, accurate and a very difficult man to stop once he got his hands on the ball. In 1995 he had an outstanding season on the forty and had many more great seasons after that when operating mainly at top of the right.


Dessie also has a great track record in management with Dublin underage teams and has tasted success with the minors in 2012 and two U-21 titles in 2014 and 2017, so a high proportion of the current senior squad has played under him.

That has to be a huge advantage going into next season. The respect is already a given and the players know that they are getting someone who is very serious about Dublin football and ambitious.

He will do everything in his power to keep this team at the top of the pile.

In ways, he is very like Jim Gavin in terms of his organisational skills and he always places a huge emphasis on fitness. His Na Fianna team were incredibly fit this year and were unfortunate not to win their quarter-final match against Ballyboden, who now sit top of the pile in Leinster.

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He will be a big loss to his club team but when the big gig came along it was something I am sure he wanted from the moment he stopped playing and made his way into the management game.

The task facing him is obviously a major one and he will feel that there is so much work to do in a short space of time.

The clock is counting down rapidly, with a new season just around the corner, and the team will be on a well-earned holiday abroad at the end of the month.

There will be small window when they return mid-January to get a few things done before the first league game against Kerry but the real focus will be longer term.

Dessie finds himself in a very unusual position as he prepares to take over the most successful team in history. You rarely see a manager stepping away after a successful season but of course it did happen after the '95 season, when Pat O'Neill stepped away.


The result was a bit of a disaster. Looking back, I believe that the decline was mainly down to the players because we switched off and didn't allow Mickey Whelan to get his message across. It went downhill pretty quickly.

Dessie, of course, was there at that time and will understand how important it is to get the players onside as quickly and as early into his term as possible.

He will be helped by the fact that the current group are an extremely professional and hardworking unit and will surely want to keep winning titles.

I don't see him making too many changes to the set-up and will no doubt fit into the role quite easily.

It was a shame to lose Jim Gavin but the Dublin County board have the ideal candidate to replace him.

After a week or two of there being a little bit of doom and gloom around the captial, we can now look forward to the 2020 season with a renewed sense of confidence.


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