"It was nice to get a sweat on" - Mannion back in the swing of it after hectic celebrations 1 month ago

"It was nice to get a sweat on" - Mannion back in the swing of it after hectic celebrations

Paul Mannion went for an hour long walk in Valencia on Monday morning.

The sun was shining, the temperature was high and, as a result, it was a good way to sweat out the celebrations of the last two weeks.


Of those, there have been plenty.

From sing-songs in Dublin to campfires at All Together Now in Waterford and then out to Spain, Mannion has been living it up.

In his own words, he's 'blown the doors off' since winning the All-Ireland and enjoyed every second of it. Regretted none of it.

From the outside, you could sense that these celebrations were slightly different to Dublin's All-Ireland wins of years gone by and on the inside, Mannion says that's exactly how it felt.


"I'm feeling fairly knackered," says the PwC player of the finals.

"I genuinely don't have a favourite (All-Ireland) so to speak at all, but in the couple of weeks after this game people were saying that one was special.

"It felt like 2011 or 2019, stuff like that.

"All of them are special in different ways, but I think just because of how the last couple of years had transpired and how we struggled early on this year a lot, how the team and management has taken criticism, it did feel a bit sweeter, for sure."


Paul Mannion celebrates after Dublin's win over Kerry.

"I trained last night with Crokes," he added, "getting ready for the Club Championship. It was nice to get a sweat on, to get prepped for that. I'm feeling good now."

Back in the game.


Mannion missed Crokes' first round of the championship against St Sylvester's, which they won, but he says the mini-breather will serve him better in the long-run.

And he's delighted that his team-mates appreciate that too.

"I'm telling the boys 'I have full faith in you guys, I trust you to get the win in the first round,' as they did.

"They picked up a great win. So back in last night and in fairness to them, there's no begrudgery, they're happy to let me have that bit of a break too. That'll serve me better in the long term as we go into another long season with Crokes.

"In the last two years with Crokes, being away from Dublin, getting to spend more time with them was amazing.


"I was 27/28 years of age when I left Dublin that time, it is only at that age that I really got to spend all of time and put all of my focus on Crokes.

"So I was just able to enjoy it a lot more, I became better friends with a lot of the lads in Crokes," he adds, before going onto hail the split season.

23 August 2023; Dublin footballer Paul Mannion with his Player of the Month Finals award at the PwC offices in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

So what was it, you might be asking, that pulled him back into the Dublin fold? This is a man, let's not forget, who seemed very content with his decision to leave three years ago.

"I watched that 2021 semi-final loss to Mayo in Killarney," he explains, "there was of course plenty of Mayo folk around and not too many Dubs!

"So that was funny, they were enjoying the experience of it all.

"I was watching the second one with friends in Boston. It was weird being away from it, especially when we'd lost. It just sunk in that you know, I was away from the team, they were in Croke Park, I was in Kerry or Boston.

"It really hit home in those moments, particularly last year after the Kerry loss, and seeing the fine margins, it made me reflect, 'should I be there, I should be trying to give it another go.'"

And so he did. Mannion explains the changes in the game in his three years out.

"The game certainly feels like it's changed a lot.

"There's been a lot of commentary about this that all teams seem to be defaulting into a defensive style of play. It leads to situations where every team sets up quite similarly out of fears of being counter-attacked.

"One thing I've noticed is that it's extremely difficult to play in terms of how exhausting it is. It's really gruelling, every player has to be working extremely hard. Onlookers think it's slow and boring, but the players out there are nearly always exhausted because the amount of running, pressing, tagging and tackling."

One thing that hasn't changed is Mannion's ability to stand out on the biggest stage. He proved that once again.