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All of the 'Apostles' really had to dig in

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Dublin's John Caffrey in action against Cork in 1983. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Dublin's John Caffrey in action against Cork in 1983. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Dublin's John Caffrey in action against Cork in 1983. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

JOHN CAFFREY was a classy operator. Corner-forward on Dublin's All-Ireland winning 1983 team, he was also part of four Leinster SFC winning campaigns in 1979, 1983, 1984 and 1985.

He operated as a 'third midfielder' to telling effect when required, particularly during the successful campaign of 1983.

A proud Na Fianna man, John was part of the team that claimed senior county championship in 1979 while he was also involved in numerous successful underage teams from St Mobhi Road club.

Hailing from a family steeped in Dublin GAA, John's daughters Leah and Aoife are Leinster medal holders for Dublin ladies at various age levels while his son Seán is a member of the Dublin U16 side, who this year enjoyed Gerry Reilly Tournament success.

John's brother Paul 'Pillar' Caffrey managed the Dubs to four Leinster SFC wins on the bounce between 2005 and 2008 and next year takes over as senior football manager with Na Fianna.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT FOR DUBLIN?

It would be the All-Ireland victory in '83. I actually never played minor for Dublin but I won two Sigerson Cup medals with UCD in 1978 and 1979 and that brought me on a massive amount. It shows that if a fella doesn't play minor it's not the end of the world. Football is a long term thing.

WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF THAT GAME OF THE FAMOUS 12 APOSTLES?

It will take some feat to beat that – not that anyone would want to! We went in with a game plan and within 20 minutes that went out the window because we didn't plan on having Brian Mullins sent off! He was our best player in the semi-final. I suppose when Ray Hazley and Tomas Tierney were put off it was one each so that didn't have a massive impact in a numbers sense. We were all rearing to go and turn it around after half-time and then Kieran Duff got sent off. But we just dug deep and got through it. There was no room for anyone having a bad day and everyone played out of their skin.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT?

We lost the next two All-Ireland finals (1984 and 1985, both to Kerry). We should have achieved more. Also any game you miss through injury is tough and it tended to happen at the most inconvenient times.

OUTSTANDING CLUB MEMORIES?

We won the county SFC in 1979. I had come up with a very successful underage team and I have the full collection with Na Fianna. 1979 was a big achievement though because, like now, Dublin football was massively competitive and there was a lot of teams capable of winning it.

TOUGHEST OPPONENT?

Mick Lyons was tough; hard but fair. His brother Padraig was a tough one too.

BEST YOU PLAYED WITH?

Brian Mullins. His commitment was something else.

IF YOU COULD HAVE PLAYED WITH A PLAYER FROM ANOTHER ERA WHO WOULD HE BE?

The Gooch (Colm Cooper, Kerry).

THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR CAREER?

My father, Stephen, had a big influence, he was big into the football and the GAA.

There were loads of mentors in Na Fianna too over the years. Tommy Norton was a great man, Bernie Deignan was another. Also there were a lot of great men in school as well. I went to St Vincent's in Glasnevin.

WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON PREDICTIONS OF DUBLIN DOMINATION?

It's always possible but the record books aren't kind. I'd rather if Dublin went and did it and then talk about it.

I've heard this before. I remember when we won in 1983 it was said that we'd go on and dominate and Dublin didn't win another All-Ireland for 12 years.

It has to be done before it's spoken about.

In an amateur sport it's very hard to keep the focus and there's always a team coming from behind with that hunger to win it.

But the raw material there for Dublin at the moment is phenomenal, there is no doubt about that.


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