Jack McCaffrey's beautiful post-match words suggest many senior stars will depart
"I do get a bit nervous when this man is up here with a microphone in his hand."
To keep Jack McCaffrey in check, RTÉ sent him up for a Sunday Game chat with Dublin boss Dessie Farrell by his side. There would be no background video-bombing, at least.
The Dublin flyer returned to the inter-county set-up this season and played a pivotal role in Farrell's side winning yet another Sam Maguire. It was the ninth All-Ireland for mainstays Stephen Cluxton, Mick Fitzsimons and James McCarthy but McCaffrey's tally of seven is pretty handy, too.
While McCarthy and Fitzsimons playfully scolded Cantwell for having the temerity to ask about their playing futures on the night Dublin celebrated their big win, a few senior stars may now step away. McCaffrey turns 30 in October and he may be finished, too.
The Clontarf clubman, a qualified doctor, spoke beautifully about what the latest All-Ireland triumph meant, and his comments suggest this will be the last dance for many Dubs.
Jack McCaffrey on passing the torch
A four-time All Star and now a seven-time All-Ireland winner, Jack McCaffrey admitted Dublin were not always at their best, throughout the year, but they always had what it took to claim another Sam Maguire.
"I was speaking with a few of the lads that I've played with over seven, eight, nine years and, from the second I stepped back into the dressing room, I was like, 'We're going to win the All-Ireland'."
That response got a rousing reception at Dublin's post-match banquet and Joanne Cantwell pressed, "Why?"
"I guess I was fortunate enough to leave the Dublin set-up when we were flying high, and all we had experience of, really, was getting to where we wanted to be. When I arrived back, I was worried about maybe that standards had changed, management styles were different or maybe players weren't playing as well as they had. After a week, 10 days, it was like, 'This is the gang. We're going to win the All-Ireland'."
McCaffrey stepped away from the Dublin panel in 2020 but was one of a few players with winning pedigree convinced to come back.
The 29-year-old explained that the idea behind the likes of him, Paul Mannion and Stephen Cluxton returning was to help mentor the next generation. McCaffrey said:
"It was a very different experience for me, this year, coming back in as a fella that had soldiered alongside some of the older guys... I know Jamesie [McCarthy] has talked about it before, but the point of today, and this year, was not to add medals to the pockets of lads that have a few. It was to set a standard for lads, going forward.
"And I'll tell you that these younger guys that are in the mix now would put us to shame. we have a very exciting time ahead for Dublin GAA."
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) July 30, 2023
Following the two-point final victory over Kerry, Dublin stars James McCarthy and Dean Rock both admitted they would consider their inter-county future over the winter months.
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