Wednesday 21 February 2018

Macauley: My insider knowledge makes me wary of Lilies

Dublin midfielder Michael Darragh Macauley – here attending the launch of the GAA hub, – is expecting a difficult challenge from Kildare on Sunday in Croke Park
Dublin midfielder Michael Darragh Macauley – here attending the launch of the GAA hub, – is expecting a difficult challenge from Kildare on Sunday in Croke Park
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

When Michael Darragh Macauley came on late in Dublin's easy win over Longford, he might have been tempted to try make his own mark in the game.

There was little he could do to have a meaningful influence on a match that had long been won when he entered the fray with 25 minutes to go. Had the 2013 Footballer of the Year opted to play a more selfish game in a bid to capture Jim Gavin's attention ahead of Sunday's Leinster semi-final clash with Kildare, fans would have understood.

But that's not the way Dublin players operate.

"I suppose for the lads coming on, it was about trying to get a jersey for the next day," he says.

"For myself and the lads coming on, we were very eager. Despite being how ever many points up, we had to put in a decent shift or we would never get any where near the starting 15 the next day.

"That's an in-built thing that we have, that the lads aren't selfish and that the lads are getting credited for not being selfish. It didn't matter the scoreline."

Playing against Kildare carries its own significance for Macauley. He lined out with a handful of Jason Ryan's side as part of a star-studded Maynooth University set-up that contested the Sigerson Cup a couple of years back and was surprised as anyone when the Lilywhites slipped down to the third division earlier this year.

For the Ballyboden man, the Kildare's late tour de force against Laois that has breathed new life into their season is a more accurate reflection of what they are capable of.

"Kildare have serious potential, I know that more than anyone. I was in college in Kildare last year and I knew a good few of the lads, so I have seen at first-hand how talented some of those players are," he explains.


"I know they probably didn't have the League campaign they would have liked but the potential that Kildare team has is huge - I think they showed that in the second half against Laois.

"It's something we are going to have to be ready for, we can't take anything for granted."

"(I know) Paul Cribbin and a few other lads. Peter Kelly as well. There are some super footballers down there."

Dublin are still very much expected to emerge from Sunday's Leinster semi-final clash. They have been priced at 1/40 to win, with the spread at 11 points.

Victory would put them just 70 minutes away from a fifth Leinster title in a row. Earlier this year, they became the first Dublin side to win three League titles on the bounce and with every landmark they pass, comparisons with the great Dubs team of the '70s will be raised.

For Macauley, that is talk for a day when playing is only a memory.

"You count your medals after your career - you just go as hard as you can for your career. You really don't start adding up things until after you have finished," he says.

"Maybe coming towards the end of your career you try and collect as much silverware as you can but you just keep going with it. The numbers really mean nothing at the moment.

"Obviously the '70 team are legendary and it's always brilliant to be put in the same sentence as them. But we are definitely a few hurdles away from those lads at the moment."

Irish Independent

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