Dessie Farrell knows tougher tests will come
By John Harrington
Crisis? What crisis? After a dismal League campaign that saw them relegated from Division 1, the Dublin footballers are looking close to their formidable best again.
Two wins from two in Leinster by a cumulative winning margin of 36 points suggests the metropolitans have their mojo back.
They were much better than Meath in every way possible in Sunday’s one-sided Leinster SFC semi-final, and afterwards manager Dessie Farrell expressed his happiness with their new-found momentum.
“It's definitely pleasing because I've said it before, the league was bitterly disappointing for us,” he said. “There was plenty of time to reflect on where we're at and what we need to do.
“From that perspective it's good to see two consistent performances put back-to-back. I know it's cliche, but we literally do have to take it game by game for ourselves and not get ahead of ourselves. We know what the bad looks back and it's fairly recent in our memories as well. It's just driving on from this point onwards.
“It’s always difficult to judge when there is a bit of a difference between the two teams there - it’s hard to know whether it flatters us or were we very good today and Meath had an off day. Again, there are definitely elements of the performance you can look into, put there is a lot you probably need to discard as well.”
Dublin will now play Kildare in the Leinster SFC Final in two weeks time. The Lilywhites defeated them in the League, and even though Championship is a very different beast Farrell thinks that result has relevance for the provincial final.
“I think there's a lot of relevance,” he said. “There's a lot of momentum behind Kildare football at the minute. The backroom team there are icons in the county. Every supporter in the county I'd imagine is the delighted with who's in charge and what's at the helm.
“I think the players are playing with great passion and pride in their jersey. It's a proud county, always has been traditionally. There's definitely something about Kildare this year. We played them in the League and they probably beat us quite comfortably down in Newbridge so that's definitely a marker for us.
“Kildare will be coming here with high expectations in two weeks time, there's no doubt about that. Very potent up front, very athletic all over the pitch, seem to be solid in defence as well. It's going to be a major step up in class and one we need to be ready for. We're looking forward to it of course and I think it'll be a great occasion.”
As for Meath manager, Andy McEntee, he was understandably subdued after his team's heavy defeat to Dublin, admitting his team had been completely outclassed.
“The amount of contacts in that middle third, they got up the field way too easily and got I don’t know how many scores unopposed, it looked all too easy,” said McEntee.
“Everybody knows that you need to get out of the blocks against them. They can build up a lead very quickly. They just did it all too easily and all too quickly. That’s the bottom line.
“They were pretty ruthless. The guys on the inside line, I wouldn’t be blaming them too much. The ball coming in was just too good. There was too much time on the ball outfield, we weren’t applying enough pressure, there wasn’t a physical edge to our game. There was very little about the first-half that you would be happy with really.”
McEntee doesn’t believe his players lacked desire against Dublin, but admits it’s going to be difficult now to rouse their spirits for the All-Ireland Qualifiers.
"Yeah, look it, guys have a decision to make now, how much we want this, so yeah, we have a big challenge to get guys back,” he said.
“I don't think it's a desire thing. When you can see what guys put into it, they obviously have the desire, but having the desire and doing it on the day are two different things.
"It's an unforgiving place out there, it's very public, if things start going wrong against you or don't start right then a game can go away from you very, very quickly, especially against a team of that quality.”