Thursday 18 January 2018

You can't take it too seriously – McCaffrey

Friend’s injury gives Dublin star new sense of perspective

Jack McCaffrey with TV presenter Pamela Flood at the launch of the Jonathan Ranson Trust Fashion Show, which will be held in the Grand Canal Hilton Hotel on Sunday week. Full details on
Jack McCaffrey with TV presenter Pamela Flood at the launch of the Jonathan Ranson Trust Fashion Show, which will be held in the Grand Canal Hilton Hotel on Sunday week. Full details on
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

When there's a full house on All-Ireland final day, Jack McCaffrey finds himself smiling away. The thought of taking to the catwalk, however, leaves him with a dry mouth and a mountain of nerves.

It's close-season now for McCaffrey and there's time to tend to other things like the charity fashion show in aid of his friend Jonathan Ranson in the Hilton Hotel on Grand Canal on Sunday week.

When asked to get involved, he couldn't say no.

"Jonathan's a good friend of mine, we grew up a stone's throw from each other and his birthday is just five days after mine," McCaffrey said.

"We were in a good, close group of friends growing up, we went to school together, played Gaelic together and did everything together.

"In 2014, he was over in San Diego on a J1. He broke his spine and has been paralysed since.

"I didn't need to be asked twice to get involved with (the Fashion Show) as he's a good, loyal friend who would do anything for any of us, so this is the least we could do."

However, taking to the catwalk will test nerves of a different kind.


"I'm really out of my comfort zone here but it should be interesting anyway," McCaffrey smiled.

"All-Ireland final day is funny. You're just going around in the parade with a big smile on your face and the pressure kind of just evaporates then and the nerves go out the window.

"I've never done anything like this before so it should be interesting. There's a few of my friends from Clontarf doing it too.

"I tried to rope in some of the other lads from Dublin too but it's on the same weekend as the next round of the championship so a lot of them won't be available, unfortunately."

McCaffrey's winter will likely be spent collecting garlands. He was superb in Dublin's march to the All-Ireland title, with his cartoonish bursts of speed the platform for many attacks as Jim Gavin's side enjoyed a perfect campaign and picked up four pieces of silverware.

The wing-back will pick up an All Star this year and, along with Dublin team-mates Philly McMahon and Bernard Brogan, he has been shortlisted for Footballer of the Year.

"It's very humbling really to be spoken of so highly but it's all about the team and the only reason any of us are getting any personal praise is because of the hard work the 35 lads have put in all summer," he demurred.

"While I do really enjoy the individual stuff, and it is a big honour, it's all built on the team."

And while the incessant demands of the intercounty season have drifted away, there is more glory to be pursued.

McCaffrey's club Clontarf are still in the race for honours in the Dublin championship.

And he also plans on teaming up with Joe Kernan's International Rules team this weekend.

"It was flagged with me a while back and I weighed up the pros and cons but there's always more pros than cons when it comes to lining out for your country so I jumped at the opportunity," he said.

"I'm actually heading up to join up with the squad for two days over the weekend. I didn't get the opportunity to go down to Australia last year, I couldn't even do the trials as I was under a bit of pressure here.

"It was something I really enjoyed in 2013, though, and hopefully a few of us Dubs can go in and make a bit of a difference."

There's also college work to be caught up on which has taken a back seat since the All-Ireland.

"I don't know if I've a different workload than a lot of the lads but you do kind of lose touch with college naturally enough for a week or so after the game," he said.

"You find yourself falling a little bit behind then maybe but I'll get back into the library now and everyone in UCD has been very, very helpful so it should be fine."

McCaffrey will pursue more silverware and success with his usual fervour but seeing the plight of his friend gives him a renewed sense of perspective.

"I found out about (Jonathan) after one of the games in the championship. We were out having a few drinks as a team. I got a phone call off my dad and he asked me if I'd heard anything about Jonathan and at that stage I hadn't. The next day, news started filtering back.

"Look, for nine, ten months of the year football is your everything and you get put into a bubble.

"But it's very, very important to realise, at the end of the day, it's 30 grown men running around a field chasing a ball, so you can't take it too seriously."

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