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Saturday 3 December 2016

The big breakthrough

Paul Griffin knows a thing or two about thriving at senior level

The former Dublin defender captained the Boys in Blue to a Leinster title in 2009. Back in 2003 he was at the core of Dublin's first ever under-21 All-Ireland winning team.

Whether you are a young club or inter-county player, it is vital, according to Griffin, to grasp your opportunity at senior level when it comes along.

"Adult football is different to minor and underage football," says the Kilmacud Crokes clubman. "It can be a big transition for young players. Under-21 is a really important grade in terms of bridging the gap between minor and senior. A lot of young players have to be patient around that age. And then it is important that they take the opportunity that is given to them.

"Most teams seem to be quite proactive in giving young players a chance. The key is to use the skills that you have and that have brought you to that point and developing them further. It is always good to look to experienced players to give you advice. Yes there is competition for places but no one wants to prevent someone from making a breakthrough if they are going to be a good footballer."

Griffin says that, judging by the talent that is coming through the ranks, a bright future is in-store for Dublin GAA.

"Dublin have put a big emphasis on underage over the last 10 years. And they are baring the fruits of that now. The biggest resource that they have put in is time. People have been helping out at underage - from under-14 right the way up to the minors and under-21s. It's not about having money or equipment or resources it is about having the right people involved and good quality coaching.

"They have worked on the basics of the game. The players that are coming through at the moment all have great football skills and that has given them the opportunity to develop into good senior footballers."

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