Dublin’s appetite for destruction remains undimmed

Dessie Farrell says champions yet to be truly tested and hungry for more

Impossible as it is to ignore, Dessie Farrell hasn't yet given "any consideration" to the possible solutions or alternatives to Dublin's increasingly apparent domination of the football championship.

That tune, Farrell does suggest, may change depending on the outcome of Dublin's latest All-Ireland showdown against Mayo on Saturday week - for now the Dublin manager has more pressing matters to worry about.

“To be honest, it’s something I don’t give any consideration to,” said Farrell, speaking at the Dublin All-Ireland media event at Parnell Park. “It’s a little bit like when Covid-19 hit, whatever it is, it is. You’ve got to deal with it and face it at the time.

“There’s going to be people who will have opinions on that and people who will make decisions on that in the future. For us, in terms of the team, we keep the head down and we get on and we prepare for the next one and the next one and the next one and that’s the way it has to be.


“Otherwise it becomes noise and a distraction, and there are others better paid and better placed and what not to make those types of calls.”

In the meantime, in a slight change of tune from his own views after Dublin’s latest 15-point dismantling of Cavan on Saturday night, Farrell also suggests part of the reason the debate has become heated again is that his team simply haven’t been tested yet: again, that may change come Saturday week.

“On the one hand you’re obviously trying not to engage in it because it can become a distraction and there’s enough to be getting on with. On the other hand it’s hard to ignore it because it comes up in conversation and while I do my best to be disciplined around reading stuff and engaging in social media and that, obviously it was interesting to see that it got a platform on The Sunday Game the other night.

"When I looked at it, I tried to think, 'Where is it coming from?' Like, it's always been there but it's more particularly pronounced in the last couple of weeks. It may be a sense that with Jim (Gavin) and the management team gone and a couple of players, Jack (McCaffrey) and Diarmuid Connolly, that there probably may have been an expectation that Dublin having won five and this is the sixth year and would there be a wane in the appetite?

“Then with Covid and the disruption, like, there’s a lot of change that has happened and probably with that there was some expectation that you may see a dip in Dublin’s performance. To date that hasn’t happened but I have a reason for that, or a rationale for that.

“But I think that might be fuelling some of the discussion then, that there’s a little bit of frustration or anger or disappointment from others in relation to that, that this dip hasn’t actually appeared. The reason I think it hasn’t appeared is because the team have obviously applied themselves really, really well and have performed really well. But to the point I was mentioning earlier, you’d have to ask the question, have we been truly tested yet?

“When you think about it, we’ve played a team that has been relegated from Division 1, we’ve played two teams in Division 2 and a team that has been relegated from Division 2 to Division 3. That’s not being disrespectful to any opposition but it’s the obvious thing and it’s been put to us and it’s been put to me, has this Dublin team been tested yet? I think people need to sort of weigh that or factor that into the discussion at the minute because it could be a very different discussion that’s being had after Saturday week.”

What is certain, says Farrell, is that Dublin’s appetite for destruction has been unwavering: “We had that conversation around the sort of hunger, the appetite, the desire. We developed a plan and we made ourselves accountable to executing that and that’s what we’ve done. On that basis you’d have to say that it hasn’t and it hasn’t been an issue for me.”

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics