Impressive Crokes form leads to O'Carroll's Dublin return
By Cian O'Connell
It has been an interesting week in the capital with the retirement of the decorated Paul Flynn and the return of Rory O'Carroll to the Dublin panel.
Speaking at the launch of the 2019 Leinster Championships Dublin manager Jim Gavin reflected on an eventful couple of days.
"From Paul’s perspective, it’s my job and the job of the management team to create that environment where they can excel," Gavin says. "But a player needs to make that choice, if this is the right thing for the player?
“We’ve had instances in the past where players have decided to pursue other activities. Rory would be a good example of that, and when they come back we’ve also held an open-door policy.
“And if a player comes back and he is performing well with the club – and we’ve watched a number of games where he was – he'll be invited back in.”
Gavin insists that footballers must be performing in a capable manner for their clubs before earning a recall to the Dublin set-up.
"One needs to prove that one is playing well, and that’s only the first step," Gavin adds.
“Now, once you’re back in with the squad, you need to fight for your jersey along with the other players who are on the squad.
“So that’s the next phase. And we don’t hand jerseys out. You have to earn the right to be on the squad.
“Like, over the coming week, we’ll be inviting players in that have never represented the Dublin senior football team before, into our training, because they have performed consistently well in the club leagues and the club championship.”
Dublin boss Gavin praised O'Carroll's displays for Kilmacud Crokes in the Dublin Championship.
“That’s a testament to an athlete and a player who is focussed in what he wants, who is very ambitious, understands the athletic demands that are placed on inter-county footballers and who has obviously worked really hard on that on his own time," Gavin remarks.
“So, that’s the first step for any player who has been brought into the squad. The next step is to fight for a jersey.”
Flynn's deep contribution to the Dublin success story in recent years was also praised by Gavin. “Paul obviously made the decision – we'll miss him – but he made the decision that, for him, the right thing to do was to bring a close to his inter-county career.
“And that’s his choice and we respect that - I would hope everybody else does as well, because the sport we’re in, it’s a volunteer sport and they give a lot and Paul, in particular, has given a huge amount to Dublin football.
“The biggest compliment I can pay him is that any time he got the privilege to wear the Sky Blue jersey, he left everything on the field for the betterment of the team. And what a great legacy to leave and what a great example to leave for the 2019 team to follow.”