Dublin’s five-in-a-row-winners will head into 2020 without their “father-figure” after Jim Gavin's departure as manager.
They will, however, have a familiar guiding hand from Dessie Farrell, who has managed the county’s minor and U21 teams.
“He [Jim] is like a father-figure to us. He’s been our role-model for the last seven years, we look up to him so much,” said Ciarán Kilkenny as he and his teammates picked up Team of the Year at the RTÉ Sports Awards.
“He lives, he breathes our values. He’s created that culture. We’re so thankful for him creating us as such great people.
“We’re going to miss him but we’re really excited about the new challenge. A lot of us have played under Dessie before so we’re really excited for the next chapter.”
Farrell has won underage All-Irelands at both grades and will now be faced with guiding Dublin towards a sixth senior title in a row.
“The three of us [Brian Fenton, Kilkenny, and Paul Mannion] know Dessie quite well, having been with him when we were under-21s,” said Fenton.
“[We’ve] a lot of respect there for him and he comes with a nice pedigree as well. We’re looking forward to it, a huge challenge, obviously Jim brought so much to the table.
“The three of us are only 26 years old so we’re looking forward to the next challenge.”
Gavin, who received the Manager of the Year award, said that family and work were considerations in leaving the role he held since late 2012: “I’d been with inter-county teams for the last 12 years as a manager or coach of the U21s for five and the seniors for seven. A lot of players have heard me talk for seven years and some for the full 12, that’s a long time.
“I’ve given it my all for as long as I could and I’ve a responsibility not only to the team but all of Dublin GAA to ensure the team do grow again. I think it’s in the best interests of everything from my family to my work in aviation and indeed for the team itself, it’s best to hand on. I’m looking forward to seeing the guys growing again in 2020.”