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Farrell steps into Gavin's shoes as the new manager of Dublin

 

Big test: Dessie Farrell faces a major mission with Dublin
Big test: Dessie Farrell faces a major mission with Dublin
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Former Dublin player Dessie Farrell has just been handed the biggest challenge possible in terms of team management.

The Na Fianna clubman has been chosen to fill the post of Dublin team boss vacated so dramatically by Jim Gavin last Saturday.

Gavin's historic feat in masterminding five successive All-Ireland titles has already assured him of sporting immortality and now Farrell must strive to adhere to the standards which Gavin set.

Farrell (48) brings impressive credentials to the table, and the fact that he has worked with many members of the current Dublin panel indicates an element of continuity that has already found favour with the Dublin county board.

In overseeing an All-Ireland minor title in 2012 and All-Ireland Under-21 crowns in 2014 and 2017, Farrell cut his teeth in style in the management sphere.

There had been speculation that Jason Sherlock and Declan Darcy, both of whom have been prominent members of Gavin's backroom team, were among frontrunners for the manager's job, but now the speculation has switched to the possibility that they may be included in Farrell's management team.

A strong spotlight will be focused on Dublin over the coming weeks as Farrell finalises his panel and gets down to work. The new manager's first match will come on the second weekend in January when the Dubs will play in the semi-finals of the O'Byrne Cup, but there will be much greater interest in their meeting with Kerry in their opening match in the Allianz Football League.

This will be a re-run of this year's All-Ireland final replay and will perhaps provide a form pointer to 2020.

While Bernard Brogan and Eoghan O'Gara are among players who have stepped away from the Dublin squad, there is considerable speculation that they could be followed by others, with goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton, who captained the team to their historic five-in-a-row feat, understood to be considering his future.

Dublin county board chairman Sean Shanley confirmed that Farrell will serve a three-year term.

Shanley ended his own five-year term at last night's County Convention at Parnell Park but will still continue to have an input into Dublin GAA affairs.

Shanley has been at the core of the drive to replace Gavin as quickly as possible and believes that the Dublin board has come up with the ideal replacement in Farrell.

"Dessie has played an integral role in the success of the Dublin footballers over the past decade in his time as manager of the Dublin minor and Under-21 teams. We wish Dessie the very best of luck in his new role and look forward to the 2020 season," said Shanley.

"The make-up of his overall management team will be announced in due course."

Farrell's appointment means that Dublin can get down to business, and while several members of the side are approaching the peak of their careers, the impact which players such as Brian Howard and Eoin Murchan have made over the past two years provides the encouragement for many other young guns to make their pitch for selection.

Kerry, Mayo and Tyrone will still be seen as the teams to offer most resistance to Dublin and there will be a feeling within these particular camps that an even more concerted bid can be launched to wrest the Sam Maguire Cup from them.

Farrell's side will meet Westmeath in their opening Leinster Championship tie in May - and that's when the business end of the season will be launched.

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