“There’s Still A Lot Of Dirty Petrol In The Engine That Needs Cleaned Out”

Dessie Farrell is officially off to the races as Dublin senior manager after his side played out an entertaining 1-19 to 1-19 draw with Kerry under lights in Croke Park on Saturday.

In what was a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final, both sides displayed the standard of football that had fans raving following their dramatic drawn encounter in September.

It may have been the first game of the season but it was a tough and intense battle between what looks to be the top two teams in the country. Speaking to members of the media following the game, Farrell admitted he was very happy with how the game unfolded.

“Very happy to be honest. It was a really competitive game. The intensity for this time of year was significant given it was the opener, the first league game and everything else so yeah I was very happy with how we competed for as long as we did.”

There was a feeling of both youth and experience as Dublin took to the field with experienced campaigners such as Kevin McManamon and Paddy Andrews joined by the likes of Farrell’s Na Fiann club mate Conor McHugh who despite being a member of the panel for a few seasons, hasn’t seen much game time.

“You want to try to get out of the blocks fairly lively and it was also a question of players available to us as well.

“But we were happy to try some new players out tonight and some fellas who may not have seen much game time over the last couple of years and then one or two newbies as well. So, a mixture of experience and youth and I think it served us well at the end.”

On multiple occasions, Farrell praised the character shown by his charges who trailed the Kingdom by three points as the game entered the final 10 minutes.

The new manager was impressed with how they found the energy to nudge themselves back in front, only for David Clifford’s last-gasp free-kick ensuring the points were shared.

“Yeah, it looked at that stage the game was sliding away from us a little bit.

“Not much energy coming from our lads at that particular point in time but somehow they summoned the energy from somewhere and showed great character going down the back straight to get their noses in front at the death.”

Either side could have won but equally, either could have lost. When asked what he wanted from the game Farrell admitted that Saturday’s game was first and foremost about the performance.

“I think it was more about the performance, we wanted to be competitive.

“There’s still a lot of dirty petrol in the engine and that needs to be cleaned out over the next couple of weeks. Just very happy that we competed in the way that we did and showed great character in the second half.”

With regards to the remainder of their Division 1 campaign, the Na Fianna man is looking forward to uncovering emerging talent to introduced into this all-conquering Dublin side.

“To be honest, I think it’s two-pronged for us. Obviously, the dynamic between players and new management and trying to bed that down and have that as robust as we possibly can. Get our structures in place, so it’s all very new to both parties at this point in time so I’m hoping the league serves us well in that regard.

“But more importantly, in terms of the shape and the look of the team as we head into the summer. You know, I’m very interested to see what new talent emerges through the league for us.”

The Dublin boss admitted he was pleased to finally get out on the pitch following what must have seemed like an eternity since he was officially unveiled as Jim Gavin’s successor.

“I think what pleased me most was being able to get out on the pitch with the lads and get to the business at hand.

“There’s been a lot of talk and this type of thing over the last few weeks and it’s just great to the lads back and start working on the practice ground and obviously the reason you do that is to play on nights like this so it’s great to get everyone out there.”

It doesn’t stop for Dublin and nor does it get easier as they face a trip to Castlebar next weekend to face rivals Mayo.

Farrell knows they are in at the deep end with many players still unavailable for a plethora of reasons. However, he sees this as a chance for other players to step up and take their chance.

“Without a doubt, you’re right in at the deep end and it’s a great way to focus the minds for sure.

“We’re taking it on a week by week basis. Player availability is an issue at this time with injuries and fellas being rested and other fellas having work commitments. But look it, that’s an opportunity for other players as it was tonight and we’ll go down and look to be very competitive again next weekend.”

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