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'It Was A Great Move By Dublin Management To Get Him In'

'It Was A Great Move By Dublin Management To Get Him In'
By PJ Browne Updated

Initially, Paul Mannion was "a bit surprised" to hear about the addition of Eoghan O'Donnell to the Dublin football panel.

The Whitehall Colmcille man has been part of the Dublin hurling panel since 2015, and was captain this season. The Dublin hurlers were eliminated from the championship in mid-May.

'He brings a lot of leadership from the Dublin hurling team'

"When I thought about it, then it made sense," Mannion said at the launch of new AIB’s new series, The Drive.

"When the hurlers were out sure... I've never played with Eoghan or seen him play, but I've heard from Cormac Costello and heard others say that he's brilliant.

"He obviously brings a lot of leadership and a different perspective from the Dublin hurling team so I think it was a great move by management to get him in.

"Fair play to Eoghan as well for taking on the challenge. It will be a tricky one for him, walking into a new dressing room late in the season but, look, he has a tonne of experience from the hurling and I'm sure he'll be fine and the lads will help him settle in too."

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

Eoghan O'Donnell has been one of the best fullbacks in hurling over recent years, but in football he plays as a forward for his club. Philly McMahon said on the Irish Independent's Throw-In podcast recently that if O'Donnell is being brought on board as a defender, then it will be less likely to cause problems as defence is a perceived weakness of the team.

"No I don't think it will piss off anyone," said Mannion.

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"I think there's enough experience and maturity in the team to say, look, no matter what happens, there's only one thing that's most important here and that's getting to an All-Ireland final.

"Some lads might be disappointed but they won't be moping around or throwing the toys out of the pram. Look, who knows, he mightn't be starting, he mightn't see much game-time but he'll be certainly adding to it in training games and so on. But no, whether he's a back or forward, I don't think there'll be any bad feelings towards him at all."

Mannion believes that there is "definitely" a pep in the step of Dublin in this championship compared to last year and their league campaign earlier this year.

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23 April 2022; Rory O'Connor of Wexford is tackled by Eoghan O'Donnell of Dublin during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 2 match between Wexford and Dublin at Chadwicks Wexford Park in Wexford. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

"Last year, also the league this year, I know they would be hurting a lot from that," said Mannion.

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"Some of their performances got away from them in the spring. I’m not surprised they have come back and are back performing again.

"Given the extra time between the league and championship to get preparations and to look back and review the league and learn from it.

"Also men coming back from injury, it is just a massive, massive boost. Quarter-final now, three games away from an All-Ireland final. Anything can happen."

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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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