Monday 20 August 2018

James McCarthy insists 'now is not the time to take stock' as Dubs eye more glory

Enda Varley of St Vincent’s attempts to go past Sean Rocks during the victory over Skerries Harps. Photo: Sportsfile
Enda Varley of St Vincent’s attempts to go past Sean Rocks during the victory over Skerries Harps. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Dublin's James McCarthy is asked whether he's aware that he's just one of three players to start all five of Dublin's All-Ireland final wins since 2011.

"No, who are they?," he asks. "(Stephen) Cluxton anyway?"

And Cian O'Sullivan.

"Not bad company. I'll take that… are there only three?"

There are only three. Others like Bernard Brogan, Paul Flynn and Diarmuid Connolly have missed out for one reason or another, meaning that even in the rarefied setting of the Dublin dressing-room, McCarthy is part of an exclusive group.

However, there'll be no reflecting on that just now because there is more to win. Last month, they secured another league title, a fifth in six seasons. They are unbackable to win in Leinster again and are odds-on to make it four All-Ireland titles in a row.

McCarthy's generation are already a team for the ages but Dublin are in the winning groove and they are in no mood to get out of it.

"I suppose you would (reflect on how much they have won) in the off-season but it doesn't be long when you have a few weeks off and you're turning the eye to the next season and going, 'right, I'll go back and go again'," he said at the launch of the Cúl Heroes collection.

"We've obviously had a great couple of years and have been very successful.

"We want to try and get more and keep going for everything we can.

"Now is not the time to take stock. You take a bit of a break, take a breather I suppose, but we're very much focusing now on the Leinster championship and hopefully we go through that and get into the next stage.

"I'm sure in a few years' time you'll look back and say, 'we did do something special', but you don't worry too much about it now. You go home and throw the medals in and my Mam minds them and puts them away somewhere, I don't really care at this stage."

Neither his nor his father John's medals are on display anyway, it probably wouldn't be their style. Former Dublin star Dermot Deasy had his stolen from the house, highlighting the risk in having them front and centre.

"Sure we had an incident there. Dermot Deasy, who lives around the corner from me, he had his medal on the mantelpiece and it got robbed.

"It just shows… you'd be sick if that happened to you. I don't know where she has them but she has them."

"They do (mean a lot). Of course they do. A lot of work goes into getting there. I'll try and get more and when I'm finished, take a look at them."

McCarthy is due to line out for Ballymun Kickhams in the Dublin SFC tomorrow but a hamstring injury sustained in the league final win over Galway means he'll be a doubt right until throw-in, but he will almost certainly be back in action by the time Dublin start their Leinster campaign against Wicklow or Offaly.

Promising

He expects there to be some new faces for that game. Colm Basquel, Eoin Murchan and Brian Howard have had promising league campaigns.

"We are very fortunate the last few years with the group we have. It's a very tight group and we get on well and push each other hard and these lads are like a new ray of energy coming in.

"They just add to the mix and they are great fellas to have around. They are hungry for it, asking questions, they want to learn and get better and they are great guys to have around. You saw how well they did in the league and hopefully that will continue into the summer."

Their introduction continues Jim Gavin's run of bringing in a handful of new faces to the set-up every season.

"I suppose when you look back over the years, in '13 you would have had Jack (McCaffrey), Ciaran (Kilkenny), (Paul) Mannion coming in. And we were very fortunate to get Brian Fenton and John Small in '15. I'm sure I'm missing someone there.

"We've been lucky, maybe every year we feed two or three guys in as well and if they're not playing they're coming on and getting experience and hopefully this year will be the same.

"Brian (Howard) had a great experience in the league, played all the games, same with Colm, he did really well and if they keep playing the way they are they'll definitely see time in the summer."

Will Diarmuid Connolly see championship action this summer?

"He's taking a break at the moment. So we're hoping he'll be back now come the start of championship.

"Everyone knows how good he is and everyone loves watching him play. Look, he helped us so much in the final last year. So when he's back from his break, we look forward to seeing him."

Irish Independent

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