I won't be back: Whelan
Published 22/04/2010 | 05:00
Ciaran Whelan last night firmly quashed speculation that he was poised to make a dramatic return to the Dublin football panel.
The rumour machine in the capital had gone into overdrive in recent weeks, speculating that the midfielder was to come out of retirement, but Whelan insists that his fitness levels would not be up to the challenge.
Although he is currently sidelined with a hamstring tear, the Raheny stalwart will play club football this season, but says he would resist any temptation for a recall, even if the Dubs were struggling during the championship.
That's something he's not expecting, however, having been an impressed observer of Pat Gilroy's charges in the National League.
"In order to go back you would have to have a certain level of preparation done," he explained. "I would be too far down the line in terms of preparation to go back.
"I've been very impressed with them and only for a silly rule change (losing out to Cork on head-to-head record) they would have made the league final.
"It was a double-edged sword for Pat Gilroy. Getting to a final would have been very good for giving these guys a run out in Croke Park, because Croke Park can be an intimidating atmosphere.
"Not getting there gives them an excuse to dampen expectation and work away in the background, which I think he wants as well. Overall their league form was very impressive."
Gilroy has looked to cool any hype in the capital after an influx of new blood during the league, but Whelan says the focus within the camp will still be on winning an elusive All-Ireland.
"I think ultimately success for Dublin is to be competing for an All-Ireland title," he said at the launch of 'joe.ie'. "Going in to the Championship they are, in my opinion, still in the top three or four sides. There's no reason why they can't be going for the title.
"There are a lot of new guys and you have to grant them time, but ultimately within the squad they'll be looking for success."