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Griffin taking it step at a time

PAUL GRIFFIN insists there were no mixed emotions when the full-time whistle sounded and Dublin were crowned All-Ireland champions after a 16-year wait last September.

Griffin hasn't played competitively for the Dubs since tearing his cruciate ligament against Monaghan in March of last year, his comeback plans KO'd by a cartilage problem in the same knee that required further season-ending surgery last June.

But he has remained very much part of 'Team Gilroy' throughout that nightmare period, playing an 'eye-in-the-sky' role as Dublin stormed past Kerry to finally reach the September summit.

Asked to describe his emotions at the final whistle, Griffin declared: "To be honest, I was just delighted at that stage.

"Having been around the guys for so long, you wanted so much for them to be successful. Within the squad, at times you can focus a lot on yourselves. After it (the final), you just realised how much it meant to everyone else in Dublin.

"It's not just about the 15 players," he added. "You forget how passionate people are about Dublin football, and how much people give to the clubs in Dublin and to supporting football in Dublin. I think it was humbling for everyone involved."

Griffin, a senior mainstay since 2003, was appointed Dublin captain by Pat Gilroy in 2010, only for injury disaster to strike not once, but twice. Having completed the painstaking rehab required after reconstructive ACL surgery, he was hoping to make it back on the team last summer only for a cartilage issue - causing swelling on the knee - to put him back to square one.

"It was definitely a blow," the qualified physiotherapist recalled.

But while it would have been easy to drift into negativity, listening to people saying "God, it must be terrible?", Griffin soon realised that looking back on the "what ifs" didn't serve any purpose if he was to move on and start thinking about playing football again.

Positive

The fact that he stayed involved in the set-up, as part of Dublin's match-day stats team, certainly helped.

"You can benefit an awful lot from that as well, feeding off the positive energy," he explained.

As for his latest rehab programme, the Kilmacud defender revealed: "I'm back in the gym. The season is over from a club point of view as well, so it gives me a little more time ... I'm eyeing the new year in terms of getting back onto the pitch, and just going from there, seeing how it responds. But everything is positive so far."

Next week, Griffin will outline some of the techniques he used to stay positive during his injury-enforced absence when speaking at the 'Lean on Me - To Win' roadshow, promoting positive mental health.

The roadshow comes to the Hilton Dublin Hotel, Northern Cross, next Tuesday, and then the Radisson Blue St Helen's, Stillorgan, on Wednesday; the events are free of charge but pre-registration is required and you can log onto www.leanonme.net for more details.


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