Brogan return a 'big plus' for Dublin, insists McCarthy
James McCarthy had been stuck in an unhealthy routine.
For the last couple of seasons, games and training were followed by painkillers and anti-inflammatories to keep a groin problem in check.
It was a quick fix rather than a long-term solution but when you're on the treadmill, it can be hard to get off.
Particularly if you feel like it might be difficult to get back on again.
But early this year, McCarthy decided he'd had enough and finally agreed to surgery to fix a Gilmore's groin problem.
"I was delighted to get (the operation) in the end," he said ahead of the Allianz League football finals this weekend that sees Dublin take on Cork in the Division 1 decider on Sunday.
"When you first come back, you're still a bit worried about it because you feel it a little bit but, touch wood, everything has been good the last few weeks.
"The surgeon was very clear. Nearly to the day when he said I'd be feeling good, I was feeling good again. Obviously I'm under a bit of pressure to get back into the side."
He's slowly working his way back to form and McCarthy's own injury problems have only added to his admiration for veteran Dublin star Alan Brogan.
The Oliver Plunketts man made his seasonal reappearance for the Dubs in a challenge against Galway on Saturday afternoon in what will be his 14th season as an inter-county footballer.
And McCarthy reckons such longevity could soon be a thing of the past.
"I'm going to try and play as long as I can or until some fella kicks me out. But yeah, careers will be shortened. Just with the sheer volume of training. There's not too many 35-, 36-year-olds playing any more.
"It's great to see him back. He's moving well. He was in training last week. He's not too far of it now. I heard he did well (against Galway). So a big plus for us.
"He looks fit. I know he was playing away for the club. He's a naturally fit guy anyway. It's a great boost for us with the experience that he has. He's a great player."
This weekend, Cork stand between the Dubs and a small piece of history as they look to become the first team from the county to win three consecutive leagues but McCarthy insists thoughts have already turned to the summer.
"It's great preparation for us. That's the main thing for us. Getting this game on Sunday, four or five weeks out from the championship, that's the main thing."