'You've to make sure you're 100%' - It's block by block for injured Dublin star McCaffrey

The Clontarf defender hopes to feature in this year’s All-Ireland SFC.

'Obviously it's a pain, but it's not the end of the world.'
'Obviously it's a pain, but it's not the end of the world.'
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

DUBLIN DEFENDER JACK McCaffrey is reluctant to give an exact date for his return from injury but hopes to feature in this year’s All-Ireland senior football championship.

The Clontarf clubman ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament with just eight minutes gone in the first half of September’s decider against Mayo, and went under the knife in mid-October.

He’ll be in Santry Sports Clinic (SSC) tomorrow for a review with the surgeon and will know more then, but McCaffrey feels that all has been positive with his rehabilitation to date.

“From my side of things it’s been ticking along nicely,” he told the media this afternoon, before he was asked whether he’d be back on the pitch for the All-Ireland series.

The 2015 Footballer of the Year answered: “I’d hope so, yeah.

“I did one of these interviews a while back and said something about the start of the championship which was thrown around but I’m not going to put any kind of dates on it.

“I’m literally just going by those little four-week blocks. The most important thing for me is to get back to where I was, to get back to 100%. If that takes a month, lovely. If it takes two years, then you just have to be.

“This is your knee. You’ve to make sure you’re 100%. There’s no point pushing on going back. There’s so many stories I’ve heard of people setting dates trying to make it and setting themselves back nearly to square one so that’s something I’m really trying to avoid.”

Jack McCaffrey down injured Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

His recovery from surgery has been promising to date, helped by the fact that it was a ‘clean’ rupture. Often times, there’s further damage.

“Mine was cruciate and cruciate alone. From that side of things it was the best way to do your cruciate, with the minimal added damage.

“The injury itself, obviously it’s a pain, but it’s not the end of the world. The big regret around it is how early in the game it happened. If it had to happen, if it could happen in the 67th minute I’d be a lot happier. But, look, we won.”

His positive outlook shines through. McCaffrey’s next goal is to get back running and he’s been focusing on upper body work and other fitness.

“There’s these little goals you have along the way,” he explains.

“Say doing a certain exercise in the gym or getting back fully straightening your leg at the start of whatever night.

“I’ve been trying to work on these little three or four week blocks with small, attainable goals. I don’t like the idea of months away, trying to pick a date and probably invariably you’ll end up missing it and you’ll be disgusted. You just set yourself up for a fall.

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He added, on the perspective serious injury brings: “I always have the same perspective that football is something that could for a variety of reasons end up being taken away.

“I don’t think it’s changed a whole pile but definitely reinforced that. It makes you realise how lucky you are and also how much you enjoy it. You realise that when you see how much work you’re willing to put in to get back there.

“At the start, there’s question marks over whether you’ll ever get back and then you realise, ‘You know what, I really want this, I really enjoy this and I’m going to move heaven and earth to get back to where I was.’”

Noelle Healy and Jack McCaffrey Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Obviously ruled out of this year’s Sigerson Cup, the UCD student was making the trip to DCU this afternoon to watch his side book their semi-final berth.

In his fifth year at the Belfield college, McCaffrey is clearly disappointed to be missing out on the action but delighted to be involved and vocally present on the sidelines.
“It’s annoying,” he admits.

“We lost last year in the final by a point to Mary’s and obviously were very disappointed but you always kind of had in the back of your head, ‘Ah, we’ve another year’. Obviously, I don’t.

“I’ve tried to stay as involved as possible. I’m really enjoying standing on the sideline, shouting at people. It’s hard to do anything wrong – no one can give out to me but I can give out to everybody.

“I’ve always had a massive time for UCD GAA, really liked it and would love to be playing. Look, it’s one of those things. Hopefully today goes well and I’ll stay involved in some capacity.”

Denis Mahony Motor Group has renewed its support of Dublin footballer Jack McCaffrey and Dublin Ladies footballer Noelle Healy.

By simply registering to take a test drive in any Toyota Hybrid model at either of Denis Mahony Toyota branches, drivers can nominate a local GAA club of their choice to be in with a chance of winning an exclusive training masterclass, led by Jack and Noelle and held at their own club. For more information, see:  

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