Sunday 23 July 2017

No call from Gavin yet but McCaffrey has no regrets over his year out

Jack McCaffrey: 'life is good'
Jack McCaffrey: 'life is good'
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Jack McCaffrey sits smiling before the assembled media and insists life is "good" for him just now.

All the while, you watch for any little signs of ruefulness. Anything that might hint at regret that he decided to spend 11 weeks in Africa this year rather than help Dublin retain Sam Maguire.

That maybe on reflection, walking away when he was the reigning Footballer of the Year was the decision driven by the impetuosity of youth.

But there's nothing there. The medical student is back now and is putting his hand up for Dublin again but McCaffrey (right) insists he's "glad" he went.

"I was in Ethiopia with GOAL and I was in the south of Zambia mostly working in a hospital," McCaffrey said at the draws for the premier third-level competitions, the independent.ie Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups.

"And then we travelled through Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania."

There were many positives from his time away, he insists, not least a physical and mental break from he rigours of the inter-county game.

"Even with the Dublin games you'd wake up and have your breakfast and then you'd remember there's a match on (and think) 'I must check twitter' as opposed to when you're here and maybe the two or three days before hand is all 'game, game, game, game'.

"I stayed in touch with it the whole time but it wasn't dominating your life as much as it does here." 

Apart from the travel he got plenty done. On his return, McCaffrey picked up a Junior 'E' hurling medal with Clontarf and also helped the footballers gain promotion to division one.

And he got to go to this year's All-Ireland final as a supporter.

"Watching the warm-up you're trying to get a sense of, with dummy teams and things, to see if you can pick up any hints and see who's actually playing.  

"The parades and that, it's kind of cool that you know what it's like to be down there, and then to see it from the other perspective. When you're on the pitch you're so focused on the match, your job and whatever, and you kind of forget the sense of occasion for everyone in the stadium.

"So, yeah, it definitely added a different perspective to it but it was quite enjoyable."

McCaffrey has made it clear that he wants back in but revealed that manager Jim Gavin hasn't been in touch yet.

It doesn't overly concern him seeing as Dublin have yet to embark on their team holiday and all plans for next year have been pushed back by a fortnight due to the All-Ireland final going to a replay.

"I haven't (spoken to Gavin) no and I'm not sure what the procedure is," he said.

"Obviously this year is different with everything shifted two weeks.

"I'm going to be in Dublin playing football, for somebody, this summer so I'd love to get back in."

The attacking wing-back faces something of a challenge to get back into the Dublin half-back line but, as Paul Mannion showed this year, it is possible to get back in the shake-up after taking a year out. And McCaffrey insists his fitness shouldn't be too far off the rest of the Dubs.

"You can get back up to it. There is no doubt about it," he says. "There is countless examples of people even through injury who have been forced to take seasons off and that.

"I definitely don't think it's going to be a bad thing. I am not sure if it will be a massively good thing either. 

"I'm playing away, obviously we are here at the Sigerson launch and you are playing away there with pretty much all the same lads.

"Everyone tends to be off the pace at the start of the year."

Irish Independent

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