Cian O'Sullivan hails Dublin football panel's freshness
By John Harrington
There's a very different dynamic in the Dublin dressing-room at the moment than there was at the outset of the 2019 Championship campaign.
A new manager brings his own thoughts on tactics and team selection so regardless of past achievements every player is starting from scratch.
Combine that with the fact that Farrell has had the opportunity to view players in the shop window of a Dublin Senior Football Championship, and it makes it all the more difficult to predict the starting personnel team this year than it would have been last year.
If he picks on club form, then it's likely a few new faces will get the chance to impress while more established players could have some ground to make up.
All of which means there's currently a lot of jockeying for position going on in the Dublin panel, which veteran defender Cian O'Sullivan believes is a very healthy thing.
"Yeah, definitely, there's definitely...even regardless, I think this year is so novel and there's a freshness that comes with that," says O'Sullivan.
"Obviously it's novel from the perspective of new management but for many other reasons as well.
"Yeah, there is new faces, there has been a number of new players brought up into the squad both pre-lockdown and after coming off the back of strong club campaigns. Training sessions and our internal squad games that we've had so far have been great.
"There's a couple of new guys putting their hands up for places and Dessie is very adamant that he'll be choosing guys on form and not on what they've done in previous years and I fully expect him to stick to that. Yeah, it's definitely a fresh new look feel to it."
O'Sullivan has won seven All-Ireland, nine Leinster Championship, and five Allianz Football League medals, but he doesn't feel like his edge has been dulled by past success.
A new generation of defenders are making their way onto the Dublin panel, but O'Sullivan has no intention of stepping aside and waving them through just yet.
"Oh yeah, yeah, yeah," he says. "Definitely motivation is as high as ever. At those training sessions you want to have those butterflies in your stomach before you go out to training or to play an internal squad game.
"You want those bit of nerves, that's what pulls the best out of you and I have that at the moment so the big focus for me in the recent past has just been getting (think he says on top of fitness) and just doing what I need to do around that and my fitness is good at the moment so I'm enjoying the training and enjoying it so far."