Former All-Star Paddy Christie fears that the conveyor belt of Dublin’s generation of talent is slowing down and that the seniors will inevitably drop a level as a result.
The former coach coached the five-in-a-winners in Dublin through decades of work at Balimun Kickham, along with minors in Dublin and now DCU.
Phil McMahon was part of a Balimon group that started coaching the Christie U10s, and years later started the process with another U10 panel consisting of Paddy Small.
Last January, the Dubs trio of Schmoll, Sean Bugler and Evan Comerford lined up for Christie’s successful DCU team in the Cigarson Cup final, each earning a place on the scorecard.
Although he has not won a small championship since 2012, he has beaten the Juniors 1-15 to 0-7 this season to advance to the All-Ireland Under-20 final in Dublin.
“It could be a little controversial if I was honest about it, but I don’t think the same conveyor belt will come through, which is cause for concern,” Christie said.
“Maybe it’s a good thing, people complain that Dublin is too strong, that it won’t last forever, the days of a juggernaut in Dublin, and I’m not sure about that.
“There are underage players in it, but they are not the same size or the same level. Even with Sean Bugler and Paddy Small, neither of the minors won. The first year (2015) we lost in a Leinster Minor semi – final to a very strong Kildare team, with three points Was forward.
“Meath beat us well next year, so there are signs that things are starting to change.
“There’s still a strong core like the Seniors. With such high expectations and high performance you can not see them collapsing overnight.
Juvenile success, especially at the U21 level, is a strong indicator of future achievements at the senior level in Dublin over the past decade.
Of the senior team that started Meath Leinster’s last defeat, only Stephen Cluxton and Michael Fitzsimons have no All-Ireland U21 medals. Of the five subs presented, Kevin McMahon was alone.
Former boss Jim Gavin has consistently picked the best of these players and introduced them to senior activities throughout his seven-season reign.
After Gavin, Daisy Farrell Small and Robbie McDaid were identified as the first teams to win the U21 medal in 2014 and the U21 winner Bugler in 2017. From the resumption in October, attacking Schmol started all games, contributing 0-12, while McDaid was always on the wing-back during that period, and Bugler started all championship games. Farrell is expected to join the trio in tomorrow’s All-Ireland semi-final against Cavanaugh.
Former Dublin captain Christie’s said Farrell’s faith in him over the small question of why he won his Cigarson.
“I had Paddy Smole from the time I took over a Ballimon team in the Under-10s, so I was with him for 11 years until he became a U21,” said the current Tipperary coach.
“He finally left me, well I thought he had left me and then I contacted the DCU. I’m like a stinker, I’ll never go with him. He’s a tipper man you trust – his grandfather is a tip man so at some point there can be a big exchange of cards!