Paul Mannion: 'It is going to be an interesting year'
By Cian O'Connell
On Tuesday evening Paul Mannion was satisfied returning to Dublin senior football training.
Even though much has changed during the winter months with Jim Gavin's departure, Mannion will embrace the challenge of working under Dessie Farrell.
Several of the Dublin panel are very familiar with Farrell from their minor and Under 21 days.
"We met him before heading off on holiday to set goals for the year and expectations - what he expected from us and what we can expect from them," Mannion says.
"It was a little introduction to his management philosophy and so forth. It wasn't new to all of us given the amount of players that have worked with him before.
"I think he is quite similar to Jim in many ways, he is not coming in to try to tear up the playbook or anything like that.
"He has no notions about himself, he is looking forward to working with us, observing how things have been done, and from there to add things to improve us."
Mannion acknowledges that similarities between Gavin and Farrell exist, but the Na Fianna clubman will also bring some small tweaks to the approach.
"Every manager is different," Mannion admits. "I think Dessie even managing from his days with the GPA he is very focused on ensuring that players as people are very well rounded and settled in their lives and happy in their lives outside of the thing.
"I think that has always been important to every team I've played on, but Dessie is particularly passionate about that.
"He definitely manages with a lot of passion, but he shares the same focus on detail and has a very calm demeanour about him like Jim. It will be nice."
Kilmacud Crokes attacker Mannion is adamant that Farrell can make a significant impact coaching an accomplished collection of Dublin footballers. "It will be new in ways, but, as I said, he knows so many players, he was a brilliant player himself, he has had success and knows what it takes to win an All-Ireland as a player and a manager and I'm sure he'll learn a lot as the year goes on.
"We're going to be completely open with him about how we've done things, welcome him into the environment and culture and all the things we've developed. I'm looking forward to seeing what he adds of his own. It's going to be an interesting year."
Stephen Cluxton, who will miss most of the upcoming Allianz Football League, attended the session, but Mannion always felt the goalkeeper would remain involved with the All Ireland champions.
"He never said he wasn't so I just assumed that he was," Mannion laughs.
"There were no signs that he was ever going to drop off. As a man he is completely driven, hungry for winning more and above all people he cared the least about this five craic.
"He just wants to go on to play as long as he can and be with us for as long as he can."
Cluxton supplied words of motivation from the sideline. "It's just encouragement in the runs," Mannion adds. "He didn't have to be there.
"It's the first week of training but he's there encouraging us on. That's what he's like.
"He's always the first in training and the last to leave no matter what time of year it is. He's Dublin's leader and we're lucky to have him."