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Thursday 14 December 2017

'Donegal defeat was bitter pill to swallow,' reveals Paul Flynn

Dublin's Paul Flynn
Dublin's Paul Flynn
Dublin's Paul Flynn
Paul Flynn won't be flying the Fingallians nest for fingal Ravens
Paul Flynn, Dublin

"IT was a low couple of days," recalls Paul Flynn solemnly, of the grim aftermath of Dublin's All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Donegal last September.

"You have to try and get on with things. There was a period when I lost a game like that you'd leave the country or put the head down for a couple of weeks but you just can't do that any more. You have to try and face it."

How low?

"In many ways," he says, "it's horrible to say, but it's like a bereavement.

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"If there is a bereavement in the family the people you want to be around are your family.

"In a case like that the only people you want to be around are your team-mates because they are the only people who really know how you feel.

"So the days afterwards, it's always good just to meet up with the guys, have a few drinks and reflect on it or not reflect on it, whatever it may be."

Was there a moment in that afternoon of wild oscillation when Flynn's own impenetrable self-belief was forced to accept the day was lost?

"Maybe their third goal," he begins, before checking his run.

"Actually, no, we'd a goal chance, Kevin McManamon, and if that went in, it could have..

"In the past, when things were going well for us, they were going in."

Not long afterwards, Jim Gavin did a pretty unique thing.

Not only did he accept blame for Dublin's defeat and specifically, the manner with which Donegal poured through their bare channels, he did so publicly. Whether an attempt, at least in part, to shield players from the full blame or just a straight-forward 'Mea culpa', Flynn says no single unit of the Dublin team is solely to blame.

"There are 15 or 20 guys out there on the pitch," he explains.

adapt

"And yes, you set up a certain way but we have to be able to take control of a situation ourselves too.

"And if we're getting opened up ourselves, we have to see it and change it and adapt.

"We might have a game plan going out on the pitch, but we don't fully follow it to every letter of the law.

"You have to be able to see certain plays as they present themselves.

"Fair enough, he (Gavin) has taken flak. But each and every one of us in the panel and the backroom team are fully accountable too.

"We played well all year. If you take away one half of the Donegal game, we were really good last year - I think anyway.

"And I remember really enjoying my football last year because we were playing so well.

"Such a nice brand of football and we were winning. Everything was going to plan.

"You can't completely turned around and say that 2014 was an absolute failure.

"But," Flynn concludes, "we didn't come out with an All-Ireland."

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