Jack McCaffrey on his dip in form, how he turned things around and becoming a doctor

The Opel/GPA Footballer of the Year award reflected on a hugely successful season.

McCaffrey helped Dublin to the Sam Maguire.
McCaffrey helped Dublin to the Sam Maguire.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

JACK MCCAFFREY HAS admitted he got ‘complacent’ about his game last year and took things for granted before turning things around in such spectacular fashion.

Dublin’s rising star of 2013 started just two games in the 2014 Championship which ultimately ended in a bitterly disappointing defeat to Donegal at the All-Ireland semi-final stage.

The 22-year old defender admitted it was a ‘dip’ in his career but insisted he never lost faith in his ability and returned to top form this year, winning his second All-Ireland as well as the Opel/GPA Footballer of the Year award.

There was a maiden AllStar award too, meaning he has joined the elite bunch of father and son combinations to have been personally honoured.

Asked what he puts his 2014 dip in form down to, McCaffrey said he was actually thinking about it just recently.

“Probably a bit of complacency, to be honest, having had a good year in 2013 and winning the All-Ireland,” said McCaffrey.

“I probably got a little bit…you know, took the eye off the ball. In the early rounds of the league and the Championship, it was always , ‘ah, there’s plenty of time, I’ll get in at some point’. That set my season back a bit and, when I did get in, our season ended abruptly so there was no time to push on from there.

“I didn’t look at anything in particular this year, probably just getting in decent shape, fit. Other than that, no. Like, tackling and shoring up our defence was something that we all might have looked at, not just me.

Jack McCaffrey The Dublin footballer at last week's Allstar awards.

“Other than that, it was about going back to what had made us successful in 2013, which was going out and enjoying playing football. Once we went out to Croke Park with a smile on our faces, things seemed to go our way.”

McCaffrey said he never questioned himself or his ability to pull himself out of the slump.

“I just set out this year to be in the best possible shape that I could be, playing as well as I could play,” he added.

“If I wasn’t picked when I was doing that, then fair enough, the better man wins. But, thankfully, I was picked.”

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McCaffrey revealed his pride at emulating his father’s AllStar achievement.

“His AllStar award is from 1988,” said Jack. “We have it at home and I actually managed to snap it in half when I was two-years-old. I knocked it off a shelf or something. The two of them are sitting beside each other now.

“It is lovely, great to have that tie to generations gone by. My family, the McCaffrey family, have always been very involved in the GAA, so it was very nice.”

Jack is also attempting to emulate his father by becoming a doctor. He is studying at UCD and, in time, will have to balance his inter-county commitments with work placements and hospital training.

“I don’t know, I actually always thought the football and the study go hand in hand – it’s only when I found recently that when you’re trying to celebrate and study, they are at odds a bit,” smiled McCaffrey.

“No, our pre-season occurs over Christmas and in January, when college is on break, and the summer time too, when the Championship is on, again you’re on your holidays. So I would hope to continue to do everything. So far, so good anyway.”

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Paul Keane

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