Dublin manager, Dessie Farrell, pictured during the All-Ireland SFC semi-final against Kerry.
Dublin manager, Dessie Farrell, pictured during the All-Ireland SFC semi-final against Kerry.

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell graceful in defeat

By John Harrington

Dublin manager, Dessie Farrell, was very magnanimous after Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC semi-final defeat to Kerry.

He paid tribute to the resolve Kerry showed to win the match via Seán O’Shea’s dramatic late free from 50 yards, and admitted his team just came up slightly short on the day.

“Sure that’s the nature of it, we’ve no excuses,” said Farrell.

“We just came up shy on the day and it’s a bitter pill to swallow. I’m gutted for the lads inside there. They died with their boots on. We were in a sticky situation at half-time but we rallied, and they threw everything at it. I’m very proud of them in general.

“I was starting to go into overdrive in terms of what we needed to do (for extra-time) and we’d a plan in place for it anyway. But a plan is all well and good until you get punched in the nose as Mike Tyson said.

“The foul, I think it probably was a foul to be fair. I didn’t see it. But just from the side-line, it looked to be.

“It was just an immense kick. That breeze was difficult to kick into. I don’t know whether it died a little in the second-half, but it was a touch of class.”

Seán O'Shea pictured kicking the match-winning free for Kerry.
Seán O'Shea pictured kicking the match-winning free for Kerry.

Dublin looked like they might suffer a fairly demoralising defeat when they went six points behind early in the second-half, but inspired by warriors like James McCarthy and Ciarán Kilkenny they summoned a remarkable comeback that was so very nearly good enough to engineer what would have been one of this team’s greatest ever wins.

“They were going strong at the end,” says Farrell of his players. “Some of that crew have a lot of miles on the clock and have given the most immense service to Dublin football. But I’d be hoping for Dublin football that they, James in particular, stays around because the group dynamic has changed demonstrably over the last number of years.

“A lot of young players, new players, many of them got game time today. Those players need the likes of James McCarthy and the Jonny Coopers and those lads to stay around and lead the way, because they follow brilliantly, to be fair to those young lads.

“And having that type of leadership at the helm is really important. So I’d be hoping that that crew have more to give.”

As for Farrell’s own future, he has yet to make a decision on whether he’d like to continue as Dublin manager for a fourth season.

“Do you know what, and you may say I’m talking through my backside, but that hasn’t come into the equation at all,” he said.

“We’ll have a couple of weeks to reflect on that. Obviously, that old cliché, there is going to be no decisions made tonight. For me, it’s about the players. It was great to see that type of performance today, that type of coming together.

“And the young lads finding themselves in that group is important, that sense of belonging. We struggled with that earlier in the year perhaps. As time moved on, players found their feet, led by those great individuals that are in the mix of course. For me, that’s the crucial thing. It’s what’s next for them. I’m optimistic and hopeful for what the future holds for that group.”