“It’s definitely a blow, but can you recover from it? Absolutely’ – Ciaran Whelan on Dublin’s Drop


Despite Dean Rock’s injury-time penalty putting Dublin’s potential great escape on a one-ball shot, it was Monaghan’s Jack McCarron who swung the crucial shoe.

That last clearance saw McCarron’s side safe and left Dessie Farrell’s men wondering what a little more composure in the face of death would have brought.

It’s the first downgrade for the dubs since 1995, and although Dr. Pat O’Neill would win his 22nd All-Ireland later that season, a combination of poor form and league format changes meant it was 1998 before the Sky Blues saw the division again in action.

One man who came to the fore in this post-1995 rebuild was Ciaran Whelan, but even he had to wait six years before clinching a provincial title after his 1996 debut.

With no one stepping on their plate in Leinster, it is unthinkable that a similar drought could ensue. But having experienced those seasons in the lower reaches, Whelan was well placed to discuss the impact of Sunday’s result on the latest edition of The Throw-In,’s GAA podcast in association with the Alliance.

And although referee Jimmy Galligan’s raising of the white flag brought down the curtain on their current position in the top flight, Raheny-Clubman says there will be no capitulation in the summer.

“It’s definitely a hit. Is it something you can recover from? Absolutely,” he said.

“It’s not the end of the world, but it’s certainly not ideal. If you listen to a lot of players who have resigned over the last few years, some of them have spoken openly and honestly about the National League Division One challenge being more important to them.

“Because they knew they weren’t going to get competitive play sometimes before the Leinster Championship and they drove through Leinster.

“But when you’re in Division Two and you’re on that downward curve, the Leinster Championship becomes more competitive. It’s in the league, no doubt about it, the top teams (are).

“If you’re going to play for Sam later in the year, you’re going to want to play those seven games against top-flight opponents even with very young lads to see what’s at stake.

“Whether they’re willing to develop a little bit of character within the team and that’s the flip side that’s going to break Dublin.”

In truth, Sunday’s result was no more than the Farney men deserved and Dublin’s relegation is really more down to their pre-season performances than yesterday’s performance in Clones.

Whatever the losses to Mayo and Kerry, Newbridge’s loss to Kildare in Round 4 stands out considering a win on that occasion would have been enough to see Dublin safely at the end of the hunt.

And the six-time Leinster champion believes it’s the issues in the back that former team-mate Farrell and his backroom squad need to focus on ahead of their opening provincial game against Wexford or Offaly on April 30.

“You can’t complain,” Whelan concluded.

“Their performance across the league was just way too patchy at times. It looked like they’d regained some structure in the last two weeks, but that wasn’t prevalent in the first half yesterday. Again, they looked very, very disjointed, especially from a defensive perspective.”

“I think they have conceded 11 goals in the league and for me that was their biggest weakness.

“From a future perspective, I would have been relatively satisfied in the last few weeks. They look like there’s a little more to them as they move forward or move it faster.

“Okay, Ciaran Kilkenny has had a few quiet games but Cormac Costello has looked lively up front. Sean Bugler has had a pretty good league campaign. Con O’Callaghan will hopefully get back into that equation again.

“So it would be pretty happy with the progress made in their forward game, but it was just defensive that cost them in the end.

“I don’t think it’s a big blow, but being in Division Two is not ideal in terms of championship preparation.

“So it’s going to be interesting, we could be back at Parnell Park for the football games and the Hurlers could be at Croke Park next year, who knows!” “It’s definitely a blow, but can you recover from it? Absolutely’ – Ciaran Whelan on Dublin’s Drop

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