Dessie Farrell bows out on a high and rules out senior role

Former Dublin star to step away from football ‘and drive on with other stuff that’s important’

Dessie Farrell signalled that he will be stepping back from football management after Saturday evening's 2-13 to 2-7 All-Ireland under-21 win in Tullamore against Galway. Before a crowd of 7,557, Dublin took the last title in the grade, which will be replaced in 2018 with a developmental under-20 championship, to run over the summer and without senior players.

Asked would he take the under-20s, Farrell said: “No. I think that’ll be somebody else’s. We were through to 21 and we’ve seen it out now and that’ll be it.

“Maybe some of the management team will do it. They’re a wonderful bunch and it’s been a pleasure to work with them for the years that I have from development squads through minor and under-21, so that may be a question for some of them but we haven’t dwelt on that.”

Further asked was he now out of football, he said: “Yeah, definitely, yeah.”


It has been a lengthy involvement for the former Dublin captain and All-Ireland winner, who signs off with a minor All-Ireland from 2012 and two under-21 titles, 2014 and now this year. Inevitable the subject of the county seniors arose. Current Dublin manager Jim Gavin’s term as manager is up at the end of the coming championship season.

Farrell appeared to rule it out.

“No, I don’t where I’m looking for a job now basically. I’m happy with what we’ve done here. It’s been a wonderful couple of years. You learn a lot about yourself in these situations as well and it’s been a great experience. I’m just happy with that now. I need to get on and drive on with other stuff that’s important.

“My roots have been in the development squad stuff and through to minor and the natural evolution was to take on the 21s. The senior is a whole different ball game. The time commitment that’s required at that level – like this is ridiculous but at senior level it’s gone to a whole new level and I have great admiration and respect for the men that take on the role in any county. It’s just where I’m at in my own career I can’t see it, to be honest.”

On the final itself he was relieved to see it out.

“We don’t do things too easy, of course but we just had enough on the scoreboard. And there was enough of a gap between us. It was nervy enough stuff, for sure. I think the burst just after half-time saw us through – just delighted.”

“They’ve been an unfortunate bunch in many ways through the minor and the last couple of years – some of them with the under 21s. I believe they deserved this. And I’m delighted they came away with it at the end.”

His Galway counterpart Gerry Fahy lamented how the passage of play with five minutes left – when a straightforward free was missed and corner back Ruairí Greene hit the post with just four points between the teams –had finally tilted the match.

"Yeah, I suppose it would have. In fairness now they had a couple of great opportunities too. Ronán Ó Beoláin made some great saves to give him credit for that. But we thought when that one arose, that it wasn't going to be our day."

The third quarter was the phase when the match moved beyond Galway. Just 0-5 to 0-4 behind at half-time, they shipped 1-4 without reply within seven minutes of the resumption.

“Ah, it was yeah, Dublin were clinical during that period of time. It gave them a cushion that we just weren’t able to get back to. We got the opportunity there but unfortunately it just didn’t go in for us. Dublin were very, very worthy victors today.”

He was confident however that his players would play a big role in Galway’s future.

“Oh absolutely, I have no doubt about that. They have tremendous character, tremendous heart, they’re well able to play the game and I think they’ll learn a lot from the whole journey we have had this year.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t to be today but I think this will make them stronger and better young players and I’m very proud to be associated with them.”

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times