Saturday 24 February 2018

Is Dublin's James McCarthy the man to join the host of Kerry legends with eight All-Ireland medals?

James McCarthy, left, and Dean Rock of Dublin following the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
James McCarthy, left, and Dean Rock of Dublin following the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

He's 27-years-old, he has five All-Ireland medals, he is in the running for the Footballer of the Year award but is James McCarthy the man to join legends like Pat Spillane, Denis 'Ogie' Moran, Mikey Sheehy and Paidí Ó Sé on eight All-Ireland's.

He brushed off the idea when he was asked his opinion on Independent.ie's GAA podcast The Throw-In, but Herald GAA correspondent Conor McKeon and Irish Independent colleague Colm Keys think it's a possibilty.

If you were asked a decade ago if a player in the modern era could join that illustrious list they may have laughed at you but the dominance Jim Gavin and his team have built and their ability to close out big games have opened the door.

For McKeon, the least amount of All-Irelands McCarthy will win is seven if he stays involved and injury free.

"If you are talking about players like Eric Lowndes and Niall Scully and Con O'Callaghan and Paul Mannion... players who haven't even started their career really, you would have to imagine that the worst case scenario is that Dublin win two of the next five," McKeon said.

"I can't imagine how, other than injury, James McCarthy wouldn't be part of that.

"You are pushing yourself towards six or seven, so he is the player. He is the youngest member of the squad with five All-Ireland medals so I think he is probably the one who will finish with the most."

Keys believes that the introduction of the Super Eights might help McCarthy in his quest.

"It might be tougher for them but it might be better for them because they have the deepest squad and it's quite evident the way they're breezing through Leinster championships now that they need more engagement from other teams," he said.

"They may get that in the Super Eights depending on the draw and they will look forward with relish to going down the county to play at whatever provincial venue that they're at.

"The fact is that two of the game will still be at Croke Park for them.

"For Dublin to get road-tested at the end of July next year with three games after a Leinster title will really stand to them.

"These games will be attritional, there will be injuries, their games are going to come week-after-week by in large, so that is going to suit Dublin even more.

"It's not going to suit Mayo even though they came through a 10-game programme this year because the depth of resources isn't there.

"I think everything is stacked in Dublin's favour and Kerry will also get a lot of benefit."

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