herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Dessie: This is new squad for me

Sights are now set on Kildare in Leinster decider

Dublin’s Colm Basquel celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the EirGrid Leinster Football U21 Championship semi-final against Laois at Parnell Park. Pics: Sportsfile
Dublin’s Colm Basquel celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the EirGrid Leinster Football U21 Championship semi-final against Laois at Parnell Park. Pics: Sportsfile

Whatever class of celebration went on in Firhouse over the weekend, Colm Basquel and Shane Clayton managed to present themselves to Parnell Park on Sunday morning in impressive working order.

"It was always the plan," Farrell told the Herald of the duo's return to the pitch less than 48 hours after their All-Ireland final win with their club.

"They had been part of it (the Dublin squad) all along anyway.

Achievement

"I think it was a really tough schedule on them and it was only fair to them to let them off and do what they needed to do with their club.

"We were just delighted that they made themselves available and turned up in condition to play," Farrell added, echoing the thoughts of everyone else in Parnell Park on Saturday.

"Which is a fair achievement in its own right."

Mostly though, Farrell was content with the performance of a team that, unlike previous years, he had a less-than-thorough knowledge of before taking over as manager - his fourth term in the role.

Of the players used in the Under 21 team beaten by Tipperary in last year's All-Ireland semi-final, only Lorcan Molloy, Martin Cahalan, Andy Foley, Eoin Murchan, Aaron Byrne, Basquel and Clayton are still around this year.

Whereas in each of the last three season, Farrell had nurtured a hefty cabal of players through his involvement with the Dublin underage development panels, only a couple of the current bunch have had more than a year's experienced of him as a manager.

"It's very different for us. We don't know them at all," Farrell admitted.

"And part of managing players for a while is that you get to know them, almost intimately.

"You know their quirks; how they operate, what they're good at and what they're not so good at.

"How they perform under pressure. All those little bits pieces. We didn't know any of that stuff about this crew.

"So we're learning on the hoof here, in many ways. Just trying to pull it together."

Their opponents in the Leinster final, Kildare, have pedigree.

Declan Campbell, Shea Ryan, Conor Hartley and Richie Feely were on the minor team that beat a Dublin side containing Brian Howard, Donal McIlgorm, Tom Fox and Paddy Small by 3-16 to 3-13 in last year's Leinster semi-final in Croke Park.

The reality of their dominance was much more stark, though.

Of arguably more relevance is the 3-13 to 2-6 torturing Kildare gave Dublin in Parnell Park in the 2013 Leinster semi-final.

Paul Mescal, Ryan Houlihan, Luke Flynn, Chris Healy, Neil Flynn and Jamie Flynn all played that day for Kildare and did so last week for the Under 21s in their big win over Westmeath in that semi-final.

Ten current Dublin Under 21 players were involved that day too.

"I think this (Kildare) team is the culmination of a couple of strong minor teams," Farrell pointed out.

"We saw them play against Westmeath the other night. They were really, really strong. Very physical.

"They play a lot like (other) Kildare teams.

Potency

"But I think there is a little bit more potency to them up front that maybe some previous Kildare teams may not have had.

"They know what they're up against," he added.

"That history is there. They've been on the wrong side of a couple of those games.

"But in some ways," Farrell concluded, "that will motivate them to give a big performance, I think."

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