Dublin’s All-Ireland winning forward Paul Mannion has said that the defensive side of his game, which has become vital to the way he plays, is something he developed by “accident.”
Speaking to the media at AIG’s office on Tuesday, Mannion outlined that it was a satisfying season for him on a personal note, not just from an attacking point of view, but also on the defensive end.
“I’ve always wanted to be an all-round player,” begins Mannion.
“I don’t want to be just a forward who can’t tackle or track back, that’s the team ethos anyway it’s not just me. It’s something that kind of happened by accident as well it’s not something I set out and said I wanted to do.
“It was probably the type of opposition we’ve come against at times over the last couple of years, particularly more defensive or counter-attacking teams with a lot of really, really good players that run from deep.
“That just requires forwards to be a bit more on the ball and with more defensive duties as well.”
Mannion’s defensive duties were on full display in games against Tyrone in both the Super 8s and the All-Ireland final, typified by the Kilmacud Crokes’ man’s 70-metre run to make a last-ditch tackle as Dublin went on to win in Omagh.
The 25-year old explained that as much as he enjoys scoring, hearing the crowds reaction to a vital tackle or a key turnover can feel just as satisfying.
“It’s a similar kind of buzz I guess. That’s the way I see it – a good tackle or turnover is sometimes as important as a big score or goal. I enjoy it as well.”
Mannion was also prominent as an attacking outlet for Dublin in their Sam Maguire success, coolly slotting home a penalty at a crucial time in the game for Jim Gavin’s men.
Despite missing from the spot in the Leinster final, Mannion outlined that in this instance, he felt much calmer as he prepared to step up.
“I practiced a lot of that since the one I missed in the Leinster final,” says Mannion.
I was probably a lot calmer in the (All-Ireland) final than I was in the Leinster final. That was the first penalty I’d taken for Dublin. I’d still been practicing them a bit beforehand as well.
“When this one came around I was actually a lot calmer and just focusing on how I wanted to strike the ball and the part of the foot I wanted the ball to come off, body position and all these kind of things were running through my head. I was just reaffirming myself as well I guess and that’s it, I just followed through.”
AIG Insurance, proud sponsor of Dublin GAA celebrated the Dublin Footballers’ and Dublin Ladies Footballers’ double All-Ireland victory today in their head office. Members of both winning teams met with AIG Staff and participated in a Q&A with Des Cahill. Representatives from children’s charity Aoibheann’s Pink Tie, AIG’s chosen charity for 2018 also joined in the celebrations and were presented with a signed Dublin GAA jersey.