Sherlock calls time on the boom-boom years
Former star retires three years after his last Dublin game, writes Marie Crowe
FORMER Dublin footballer Jason Sherlock has called time on his football career. He decided it was time to hang up his boots when his goal to play in Croke Park again didn't materialise with Dublin or his club St Oliver Plunketts Eoghan Ruadh.
"I'd been training on my own since November and also with the club," explains Sherlock. "But I just knew that I wasn't physically where I wanted to be. I hadn't got to the level that I needed to get to for various reasons."
Sherlock, who until now had never officially retired from inter-county football, played his final game for Dublin in 2010. He continued to line out for St Oliver Plunketts Eoghan Ruadh, until their recent first-round championship defeat to Ballinteer St John's in what was to prove his final senior football game.
When Sherlock burst on the scene as a precocious talent in 1995, his critics, and they were many, delighted in his inability to kick points from out the field and scoffed at the notion that his magnetic personality and sublime skills could actually be good for Gaelic football.
What they couldn't deny, though, was that he brought a breath of fresh air to the game and proved to be the X-factor that elevated a Dublin team of nearly-men to All-Ireland winners.
He represented exactly what Gaelic football needed during a time when hurling was dominating the headlines and, although he never reached those heights with Dublin again, he enjoyed some fruitful years with Na Fianna, winning three county titles before transferring to Plunketts, where his attempts to repeat the feat under former team-mate and manager Mick Galvin fell short.
Last November, Sherlock spoke to Jim Gavin and the Dublin manager gave him an indication that if he was playing well enough and in the required shape physically, he'd be considered for selection. Sherlock trained six times a week after that conversation but didn't feel he had hit the targets he'd set himself, so he informed Gavin of his decision last week.
"It wasn't from lack of effort, I had a back injury last year and that flared up again this year and Mother Nature is also catching up. I can go out on good terms knowing that I did all I could to play for Dublin and I can walk away knowing that I did everything I could, so I'll support them now and move on."
Sherlock isn't sure yet what his future in sport holds but he knows that he will be involved at some level. Already rumours are circulating about a jump into management but, for now, Sherlock is taking some time for himself. "I feel that after you finish playing you need time to distance yourself and get perspective. Even though I haven't been involved with Dublin for a number of years, I've still trained hard so this break will give me an opportunity to focus on other things," he said. "I'm doing a master's and I have a family. I have plenty to keep me occupied."