How Dublin are coping without Dessie Farrell, more rulebook debate and Roscommon positives

Updated May 17th 2021, 12:02 PM

1. GAA rulebook under the spotlight again

THE OPENING WEEKEND of inter-county hurling was dominated by debate over the new advantage rule and the return of football has followed suit. However, the major bone of contention in the big ball code last weekend was over the new penalty rule designed to combat cynicism that was voted in at February’s Congress.

Two of Dublin’s three spot-kicks arrived after fouls outside the large rectangle that were deemed to have denied goalscoring opportunities.

Both Anthony Cunningham and Mick Galvin queried the need for the new rule in their post-game interviews. Without a black card rule in hurling, cynical play was becoming common place to prevent players racing through on goal.

So a penalty rule for fouls inside the 20m line was introduced and then also applied to football, which already had the black card to discourage such fouls.

Kerry captain Paul Murphy opined this week that the Gaelic football fraternity tend to take new rules lying down in comparison with hurling folk. When you also take into account the continued use of the advanced mark rule, it’s hard to argue against that.

2. Galvin steps in as Dublin manager

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Mick Galvin wore the bainisteoir’s bib for the first time yesterday as Dessie Farrell serves his 12-week suspension over Dublin’s training breach back in March. 

Galvin won the All-Ireland in 1995 alongside Farrell and he explained how they remain in close contact despite the manager’s suspension.

“It’s a very player-driven group we have here, and a great management team, so it’s kind of been business as usual. Yes, we miss Dessie around the place but I’m in contact with Dessie four or five times a day all my life so no change. Business as usual.”

Asked who decides on team selection under the new arrangement, Galvin responded: “Dessie has a big say. We talk on a regular basis and he’s never too far from our mind to be honest with you.

“So it’s not ideal not having him around the place but as I said it’s a very strong player-driven group so we’ll try to cope with his absence as best we can.”

Dublin’s Ciaran Kilkenny tackles David Murray of Roscommon.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

3. Roscommon positives

The Rossies have every reason to be quietly pleased with their performance yesterday. They produced some good passages of attacking play, kicked a few fine scores and the full-forward line of Ciaran Murtagh, Donie Smith and Diarmuid Murtagh sliced Dublin open at times. 

With Conor Cox only introduced in the 50th minute, Cunningham still has some firepower in reserve. Athletically they looked well capable of competing with Dublin until the final quarter when Galvin ran his bench.

They’ve also added Dublin Steven Poacher to his backroom team this season and Cunningham is hopeful he’ll add a lot to the set-up.

“Stevie Poacher is an example is very high-class coach and has been involved with a lot of other counties and clubs,” he said.

“Has participated in a lot of coaching webinars and has very strong ability and we were just looking for other aspects. We are always looking for new aspects that we can improve on and get better on.

“Stevie has gelled in very, very well. We are always looking for that extra inch. The biggest thing for us is that he got a great response from the players and onwards and upwards we will go.”

The Dublin team stand for the national anthem.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

4. New Dublin faces

We didn’t learn much about Dublin but we did see some new faces in Sky Blue.

Stephen Cluxton is working his way back to full fitness and when Evan Comerford picked up an injury at training on Friday night, it left third-choice keeper Michael Shiel in line for his Dublin debut. 

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Raheny defender Sean McMahon also made his first competitive appearance for the county, lasting 50 minutes until he was replaced by Mick Fitzsimons. 

After Michael Darragh Macauley’s retirement Dublin are probably still searching for a long-term partner for Brian Fenton at midfield. Jack McCaffrey’s decision to step away means James McCarthy’s driving runs are likely to be required on the half-back line this summer.

McCarthy was named at centre-field but some late changes saw him switch to wing-back and Tom Lahiff got the nod alongside two-time Footballer of the Year Fenton.

The St Jude’s man won a few kick-outs, clipped over a point in an all-round solid performance. He’ll be determined to retain his place over the coming weeks to give himself a shout of nailing down a place alongside Fenton when the championship throws-in.

5. What’s next?

Dublin travel to Thurles next weekend for a mouth-watering tie against Kerry, who were in sensational form against Galway on Saturday.

“They were exceptionally impressive, to be honest with you,” said Galvin of the Kingdom.

“Talk about hitting the ground running. They were spot-on, ready for action, and they look at championship pitch, to be honest. Historically a big game for Dublin, and we’re really looking forward to going down and seeing where we’re at.”

Cluxton and Dean Rock are unlikely to recover from injury in time for the Kingdom clash, but Galvin is optimistic that Jonny Cooper and Brian Howard will be able to play some part. 

Roscommon meanwhile will travel to Pearse Stadium to face Padraic Joyce’s side that will be smarting from the pummelling they took against Kerry. 

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