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Paul Mannion: 'Someone Described It As Like Prison Rules Gaelic Football'

Paul Mannion: 'Someone Described It As Like Prison Rules Gaelic Football'
By PJ Browne
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Like many others, Paul Mannion spent the weekend watching the US Open. Unlike most, he was not watching on television. He was there at Brookline.

"Jesus it was an incredible experience now," says the six-time Dublin All-Ireland winner.

"I was following Shane Lowry mainly, I was there for a couple of practice rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday, he was with McIlroy.

"Then I followed Lowry for the championship rounds on Thursday and Friday. Got to see a few of the others too so it was some experience.

"I'm a Lowry fan myself, so was hanging out with his old man Brendan, so we had good old craic on the sidelines for the last couple of days."

The 29-year-old, who stepped away from the Dublin panelfollowing the 2020 championship, is in the US for the summer to play football with Donegal Boston.

"Part of me felt a bit silly coming out here thinking like, ‘Jesus I’m a bit old to do this J1 type summer again’," he says.


21 June 2022; Former Dublin footballer and Kilmacud Crokes' star, Paul Mannion pictured at the launch of AIB's new series. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

"It was just April, May, I know a couple of people out here and they had been asking me to come out. I’d said no a few times because I thought I’d be back home working away. I was enjoying my job at the time. I didn’t see any need to change or any desire to come out here.


"I had a new opportunity then to start a new job in August, around that time then I was like right, ‘I am moving jobs, this would line up well. Enjoy a couple of months off, line that up with the time off from work'.

"It worked out well on that front. So when I asked the club about it, I asked friends and family what they thought they said go for it."

Before travelling, Mannion sought advice from former Dublin teammate Diarmuid Connolly who spent the summer of 2018 with Donegal Boston.


"He only had good things to say about his time here so having that stamp of approval was definitely a boost," says Mannion.


"I knew what to expect from playing out here before. It is a different kind of a game, 13-a-side, a bit smaller and tighter pitch. More space in different areas as well.

"You never know what will you get any given day with referees. They have been very good out here so far from what I’ve seen.


"It can be a tougher game. Someone described it the other day as like prison rules Gaelic football. It is actually not that bad."

Paul Mannion: 'Teams love to sow it into these new lads arriving over'

Derry footballer Ciaran McFaul, former Dublin footballer Shane Carthy, along with a couple of Dublin U20s are teammates.


12 February 2022; Injured Kilmacud Crokes player Paul Mannion before the AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Club Championship Final match between Kilcoo, Down, and Kilmacud Crokes, Dublin, at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

"We’re two games in, won both of them, going well," says Mannion.


"Four teams in the senior championship, play each other twice in the group stage and this is their championship, obviously no club championship for them back home. This is the big one for them. They all want to win it. It is really competitive. Crosstown rivalries and players coming out for the summer, that adds to it as well. It is really exciting.

"Seriously warm as well, something to get used to. You're getting mid 20s each day here and yeah, it can get quite humid too which is when it's difficult to train in. But look, you probably need that to sweat out all the Dunkin Donuts and what not, some of the shite you'd be eating out here.

"They do take it serious. Teams love to sow it into all these new lads arriving over, it is good craic. For them, it is their club championship so I wouldn’t even say it is not as serious as club championship.

"They train quite hard but they do want to let the lads coming out have a fun summer as well and that kind of thing. The odd weekend off and there are good things to do, it is nice. Enjoying summer, in a new city while still being able to train and prepare for a club championship as well."

The Drive explores the adversity faced by inter-county players in the modern game and what drives them to pull on the jersey year after year. Hosted by Ardal O'Hanlon, The Drive features the stories of four inter-county players and their journeys on and off the pitch, celebrating the incredible perseverance showed by players across the country, who despite logic, can't quit, no matter how tough it gets, because Tough Can't Quit. You can view the teaser for the series on AIB GAA's social channels.


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