GAA club transfers that shocked the county: Jason Sherlock 8 months ago

GAA club transfers that shocked the county: Jason Sherlock

"I wasn't enjoying playing and the motivation to win wasn't there."

This almost feels like it was forgotten about, but given the fact that Jason Sherlock was arguably the most famous Dublin player of this era, it was a big deal at the time.

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It's not unusual at all to see players transfer to teams in the capital - the likes of Kieran McGeeney, Paul Galvin, and Rory Gallagher have all done it in the past.

The difference however, is that they were transferring from their home counties, usually because they had taken up jobs in Dublin, and it wasn't feasible to travel for training with their native teams.

Photo by Damien Eagers/Sportsfile
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So the fact that Jason Sherlock, a Dubliner and county legend, went from Na Fianna - where he won three county titles and played for 13 years - and transferred to St Oliver Plunketts, a team in direct opposition, was a bold move to make.

Jason Sherlock requested a transfer from Na Fianna to St Oliver Plunketts in 2007.

When you hear about these situations, you often assume that there was a fall-out somewhere along the line, and it all just came to a head.

This was not the case for Sherlock, who reveals in his autobiography, "Jayo, My Story," that it was mainly because all of his friends at the club had retired.

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"Vincents hammered us in the 2007 championship, and a break-up of the team looked likely. There was nothing underhanded about my decision to move on.

"The 1983 All-Ireland winner John Caffrey's wife, Bernie, was chairperson at the time and I approached her about it, met the club executive too, telling them why I wanted to move on,

"I explained that I wasn't enjoying playing and that the motivation to win wasn't there as the guys I had soldiered with had retired.

"I wouldn't have felt right winning without them. The fact that most of the underage talent in the club was focused on hurling meant that there was little opportunity to mentor players and help bring them through.

"When I explained all of this to them, I asked if they could give me a reason to play. I met Dessie and that was a hard one. He wasn't happy with my decision, but he never held it against me."

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Pillar Caffrey was another obstacle that Jason Sherlock had to overcome to get his transfer.

Just to make things even more complicated, Pillar Caffrey was the Dublin manager at the time and also a Na Fianna clubman, through and through.

In fact, he even managed the club to an All-Ireland club final, where they lost out to a dominant Crossmaglen side.

"I asked Pillar, a Na Fianna stalwart but my Dublin manager too, if a move would jeopardise my inter-county career and he assured me it wouldn't.

Jason Sherlock 24 June 2007; Dublin manager Paul Caffrey congratulates Jason Sherlock after the game. Bank of Ireland Leinster Senior Football Championship Semi-Final, Dublin v Offaly, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

"So in 2007, I left Na Fianna, after thirteen years, three Dublin championships and one Leinster title. I had spent all of those years with Na Fianna, and they had been super to me.

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"I joined St Oliver Plunket Eoghan Ruadh, who were newly promoted to Division One. I have a strong relationship with Alan Brogan, and we always had a good understanding on the pitch too.

"That was a big hook."