The 1% Podcast

Paul Flynn

Paul Flynn Dublin GAA Podcast


  • 01

    Paul Flynn

    The tactics, routines and influences of the GAA great The 1% Podcast


My guest today is Paul Flynn.

With six All-Ireland’s, 10 Leinster titles, five National Leagues, Paul Flynn will be remembered as one of Dublin’s all-time greats.

As well as earning four consecutive All-Stars, Paul was a central influence in the Dublin team from his debut in 2008 to his retirement in 2018.

In this period, he epitomised the resurgence of Dublin GAA and re-defined the role of wing forward in a period where elite GAA players brought the game to a new level.

In this podcast we talk through the tactics routines and strategies of an elite GAA player and what it takes, on and off the pitch, to perform at the highest standard.




Show Summary


2:30 Paul Flynn’s career highlights

3:15 The GAA championship

  • The highlights of the final and the replay
  • The difference between “trying not to lose” vs “trying to win”

4:35 Kerry’s performance

  • Their competition and performance history
  • Comparing Kerry with Dublin as they were in 2011
  • « These guys will be household names in the future »

6:30 Dublin’s 5 consecutive All-Ireland wins

  • How this achievement affected different players

8:35 Watching from the sidelines during the finals

  • Staying focused on his work as CEO of the Gaelic Players Association
  • Focusing on family
  • The difficult replay day

10:48 Recovering from a final

  • The challenge of always being on edge
  • Wanting to get back to normal life and sacrificing trips and holidays

13:31 Strength and conditioning

  • The teams’ training age

15:39 The buildup to All-Ireland’s

  • It was like the whole world stopped around me”
  • Experiencing powerful emotions and excitement
  • Watching your boyhood dreams come to life

17:40 Paul’s Dublin debut

  • His memories of being on the panel in 2007
  • Why he stood out: “They felt like i was raw, but they could work with me”
  • His connection with his grandmother and her support of Dublin

20:27 College years

  • The impact of his years at DCU
  • How his working-class family affected his perception of college
  • Feeling out of place with his educated Dublin teammates
  • Paul’s gratitude for manager Pat Gilroy, who provided career and education help to players
  • Going to college as an older student
  • Balancing sports and education
  • Experiencing high-performance culture

23:12 The Sigerson competition

  • The advantage of mixing different players from different counties
  • Online game streaming
  • The drive of seeing other players get nominated for all-star

25:15 Kicking

  • The impact of coaches on Paul’s technique
  • The humility of going back to basics
  • His 3-stage kicking practice process
  • Finding his foot’s “sweet spot”
  • Why it’s an advantage to go down to 80%
  • The importance of being composed

28:44 Manager Pat Gilroy

  • His investment in the team and its players
  • His vision of the team’s financial situation and commercial structure

30:40 Dublin’s first All-Ireland win in 16 years

  • A career and life highlight
  • The team’s subsequent fame and public appearances
  • How this win allowed the team to spend time together after the season

33:25 Wing forwards

  • The new generation and new tactics of wing forwards
  • Different players’ techniques and skill-sets

35:35 Influences

  • His parents’ commitment to the GAA
  • The importance of minors training with seniors
  • Why finding good mentors is key

38:34 Mickey Whelan

  • Meeting Mickey at an impressionable age
  • Sports science as a science and an art

40:05 Losing to Mayo in the 2012 semifinals

  • Regime changes
  • Jim Gavin’s ambitious win goals

42:34 2014: a pivotal year

  • Paul’s memories of the Donegal defeat
  • The effect of the high heat
  • Dublin’s skillful halftime assessments

47:00 Inside the dressing room at halftime

  • Each person’s role
  • The advantage of the team being allowed to figure things out on their own

50:00 After the Donegal defeat

  • How the team evolved based on their strengths and weaknesses
  • Adapting to different teams
  • Adapting to new sweeper systems
  • Spreading wide and using the space

54:00 Process

  • Process goals vs outcome goals
  • Staying in the “now”

56:10 Rules and team culture

  • The influence of the All Blacks
  • Choosing the best parts of different successful teams: “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel”
  • The importance of respect

58:35 Intelligence and sports

  • The recent shift from teams of working-class players to college educated players
  • How intelligence prepares you for the other demands of the game
  • A new practice: taking notes at practice

1:03:00 Jim Gavin’s managerial style

  • He’s an exceptional manager”
  • His strengths: remaining calm and collected and treating everyone equally

1:05:20 Winning his 4th All-Star in a row

  • How significant this win was
  • Potential future winners
  • Accepting that this achievement will be surpassed

1:07:55 Understanding short kick-outs

  • Goal 1 : Getting the kick-out as far away from your own goal
  • Goal 2 : Not losing the kick-out
  • The potential consequences of losing a kick-out

1:11:10 Prioritizing

  • The importance of preparation and planning
  • Defining “smart training”
  • Working on mindset

1:13:58 Joining Pieta House

  • Dealing with the suicide of a close friend

1:15:23 Wins and opponents

  • Dublin’s rivalry with Mayo
  • How the team helped them to stretch their limits

1:18:04 Turnover

  • Having a culture of giving youth a chance
  • Prioritizing skill above all else

1:20:10 Transitioning to the business world

  • The skills that carry over from team sports to business

1:23:15 Retirement

  • GPA’s pilot scheme for transitions to retirement
  • Potential post-retirement spirals towards mental health issues and substance abuse
  • The importance of having goals

1:28:33 Other sporting organisations

  • Learning from other organisations: “The fundamentals remain the same”
  • The importance of getting preventative measures in place

1:30:33 Paul’s plans for the year

  • The GPA’s 3-year strategy
  • Priorities: balancing life on and off pitch and making sure everyone understands the role of the GPA