"You just wish you could be a part of it" - Paul Mannion reflects on missing out on today's All-Ireland final with Kilmacud Crokes 11 months ago

"You just wish you could be a part of it" - Paul Mannion reflects on missing out on today's All-Ireland final with Kilmacud Crokes

"That stings, of course it does."

After choosing to opt of the Dublin panel, many GAA fans thought we were going to have to endure not seeing the wonderful talent, that is Paul Mannion on the big stage on a regular basis.

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However, with his focus shifted purely onto his club, Kilmacud Crokes, the 28-year-old has had the season of his life, dominating in the Dublin championship, and then taking his form to an even higher level in Leinster.

Soon we saw the gun slinger where we were so used to seeing him, kicking scores in Croke Park as they played Portarlington in the Leinster semi-final.

However, in that game he picked up a serious injury that needed surgery, and with his club about to take on Kilcoo today in the All-Ireland club final, the Devastating Dub won't be lining out with them.

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"The county final against Judes probably wasn't the best game to watch for a neutral, trust me it wasn't the best game to play in either, for either team.

"We were met with a very defensive set up that day, so we just had to be very careful, so it turned into a bit of a dog fight.

"In the semi-final against Portarlington I was running down the line, I was going full pelt, and I just went down, fell awkwardly on it.

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"The knee just felt a kind of twist in the ground. I tore my lateral ligament, I could feel it kind of wobbling underneath me for the rest of that game, and I knew there was something wrong, but I was just trying to get through that game.

"Obviously it was tough, painful, and I opted to go for surgery, and get it reattached.

"They talk about Kilmacud Crokes being this big giant of a club, but it's never really had that feeling for me, it has that small club kind of feeling, which might seem silly to outsiders looking in.

"Of course the numbers are big, but it has that small club feel, everybody kind of knows everybody, it's where we socialise, the bar, the cafe, and having food after training, that kind of thing.

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"Even the family kind of aspect to it as well like, people talk about other club teams, and county teams having brothers on the team, we've now got my own brother togging out with us in the summer for league game which was nice.

"Obviously as the games approach, you just wish you could be a part of it, and that stings, of course it does.

"But look, if we get over the line, and we win, then nothing else matters, and that's all I want."