Mannion doesn't think O'Donnell recruitment will disrupt Dublin dressing-room
By John Harrington
Paul Mannion doesn’t believe Dessie Farrell’s decision to draft Dublin hurling captain, Eoghan O’Donnell, into the Dublin senior football panel will have a destabilising impact on the dressing-room.
Some players might be disappointed to drop further down the pecking order, but Mannion is convinced it won’t disrupt the collective focus on winning the Sam Maguire cup.
“I don’t think it will piss off anyone,” said Mannion at the launch of AIB's new GAA content series, TheDrive. “I think there’s enough experience and maturity in the team to say, look, no matter what happens, there’s only one thing that’s most important here and that’s getting to an All-Ireland final.
“Some lads might be disappointed but they won’t be moping around or throwing the toys out of the pram. Look, who knows, he mightn’t be starting. He mightn’t see much game-time but he’ll be certainly adding to it in training games and so on.
“I was a bit surprised, but when I thought about it then it made sense. When the hurlers were out sure.
“I’ve never played with Eoghan or seen him play, but I’ve heard from Cormac Costello and others that he’s brilliant. He obviously brings a lot of leadership and a different perspective from the Dublin hurling team so I think it was a great move by management to get him in.
“Fair play to Eoghan as well for taking on the challenge.
“It will be a tricky one for him, walking into a new dressing room late in the season but, look, he has a tonne of experience from the hurling and I’m sure he’ll be fine and the lads will help him settle in too.”
Mannion squashed any hopes that he might return to the Dublin panel himself this year when he decided to travel to Boston for the summer to play football with the Donegal Boston club.
He has already played his first two matches and is enjoying an experience that happened almost by accident rather than design.
“Part of me felt a bit silly coming out here thinking like, Jesus, I’m a bit old to do this J1 type summer again,” says Mannion. “It was just April or May, I know a couple of people out here and they had been asking me to come out. I’d say no a few times because I thought I’d be back home working away.
“I was enjoying my job at the time. I didn’t see any need to change or any desire to come out here. I had a new opportunity then to start a new job in August, around that time then I was like, ‘right. I am moving jobs, this would line up well. Enjoy a couple of months off, line that up with the time off from work.’ It worked out well on that front.
“It is going well. Playing with Donegal Boston here. We’re two games in, won both of them.
“It is tough. A different kind of challenge. 13-aside, probably tighter pitch. Seriously warm as well, something to get used to. Teams that love to sow it into all these new lads arriving over, it is good craic. Enjoying it so far.
“They do take it serious. For them, it is their club championship so I wouldn’t even say it is not as serious as the club championship. They train quite hard but they do want the lads coming out to have a fun summer as well and that kind of thing.
“The odd weekend off and there are good things to do, it is nice. Enjoy summer in a new city while still being able to train and prepare for a club championship as well.”