Race for Sam Now looking from the outside in, Jason Sherlock thinks the All-Ireland champs have room to improve
In a most understated way, Jason Sherlock makes the biggest of statements. After five years as a coach with the all-conquering five in-a-row Dublin side, he’s well placed to judge where they stand and what lies in store for them.
And when he suggests there is even more to come from that group, it’s a reminder of the side Dublin have built. History was made last year but there is, Sherlock insists, ‘another layer’ to that team.
“I’d have very low expectations of any inter county footballer at the moment because these are obviously very strange times,” began the 1995 All-Ireland winner at the launch of the Electric Ireland All-Ireland minor championships.
“But knowing the guys and how much they care about themselves and about playing for Dublin they will certainly do the best they can.
“In terms of the expectations and the levels they have reached, one thing they have had very little of is adversity and I think there is another layer there again when they do face that adversity.
“They have had to do it in games… If you go back through the five in-a-row, as much as people might say they won a five in-a-row, in every year there is games and times it was put up to them and they responded in the right way.
“Now as a fan, it will be really interesting to see how those guys progress when they face adversity. I’ve no doubt that that will happen in games over the months and years to come.”
Adversity has already visited them in different ways. Dessie Farrell is a first season manager and he’s had the most interrupted of seasons. The passing of time has seen Diarmuid Connolly and Darren Daly pass through. Jack McCaffrey has opted out too.
“That team don’t judge themselves by medals. If you look at most successful teams they don’t judge themselves by medals. Medals are an outcome based on what they do from day to day, at training sessions or away from each other.
“Obviously, we prided our preparation to perform and performance. Just knowing the lads, there are certain things we could have done better on numerous days. That’s certainly one of the motivating factors for me and the likes of Declan Darcy and Jim (Gavin). I’ve no doubt the players will have a similar mindset.
“It’s slightly different externally. You might say ‘success – that means they’ve performed really well’. Yeah, to a certain extent because you were good enough on any given day. But internally, in terms of the levels of expectation they would have for themselves, I’ve no doubt there is a bit of improvement there.”
Sherlock revealed that he had been approached by a number of different outfits with a view to getting involved with a team.
But to date, he has stepped back from coaching.
And he insists that taking charge of a county other than Dublin isn’t something he’s considered to date.
“It’s not something I’ve dwelt on. I’ve been involved with the seniors but I was involved in Dublin development squads and I was over a minor team for one year and I really enjoyed that development pathway and seeing how young men develop, even the minor team I was involved with, there was a lot of them at the weekend playing against Tyrone.
“So just to see them, that was very satisfying to see, although we didn’t have much success in minor, though for me it’s not about that, it’s only a stepping stone on their pathway.
“I would be interested in that side of it as well so I haven’t thought much about inter-county.
“From the outside it is quite unrealistic, I think, the expectations that some counties have for managers coming in because at the end of the day, there can only be one winner every year but it seems like the transition rate of managers is scary in these current times.”