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Old and new faces combining as Dessie Farrell’s Dublin eye fresh assault on Sam Maguire

Dublin footballer Lee Gannon at the launch of the new Dublin jersey. Photo: Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE


In with the old and in with the new for Dublin in 2023.

Manager Dessie Farrell’s set-up for the new season will simultaneously be a throwback and a nod to the future as they look to reclaim Sam Maguire.

Perhaps Lee Gannon represents that new era of Dublin. After a dynamic breakthrough season, which saw him finish the year with an All-Star nomination, the Whitehall man looks set to be a fixture in the Dubs team for years to come. Along with Tom Lahiff, he played in every competitive Dublin fixture as the county look to find new totems.

A gifted hurler who was courted by Micheál Donoghue recently, Gannon opted for the footballers. He’s had to serve his time, however, and on his first taste of the squad in 2021 he was, by his own admission, off the pace.

“The fitness was the main thing for me,” he said of his first call-up to the squad last year. “And then obviously my football would not have been as good as the lads, the mindset would not have been as good, everything was probably a step below. Even now and last year, I was a step below and I was really trying to bring myself on that little bit more to be able to consider myself to be a Dublin senior footballer with the lads.”

Gannon is up to speed now and one for the present and the future. But Farrell and Dublin will also look to the past, in the shape of Pat Gilroy.

If Jim Gavin built the greatest team the game has seen, then it was Gilroy who dug the foundations. He’s served Dublin GAA in many ways, though his role this time around has yet to be defined.

“To be fair Dessie’s great at keeping in contact with us on that level and even on a personal level he’s great too,” Gannon explained as Dublin launched their new jersey.

“But he just told us a few weeks ago that Pat would be joining up with the squad but there was no mention of a coaching capacity or a mindset capacity, whatever it would be. We don’t really know yet, so it still is very exciting now and I’d say in a week or two we’ll find out.”

Paul Mannion and Jack McCaffrey offer other strings to their bow. After losing to Kerry thanks to Sean O’Shea’s booming late free and some big-name recruitment in the off-season, there’s a sense Dublin are pulling out all the stops to get back to the top of the football tree.

“I think it is just working towards that first game, the first training session at the end of the month and just try to keep building,” said Gannon.

“It is about building from last year as well after coming so close to Kerry, who are a great team, and just try and get that one point better, that one percentage better and that is the only thing we are looking to at the minute.”

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