O'Carroll 'going great' since rejoining Dublin panel
By John Harrington
James McCarthy says Rory O’Carroll has looked sharp since rejoining the Dublin football panel.
O’Carroll last played for Dublin in the 2015 All-Ireland SFC Final win over Kerry before moving to New Zealand, but recently returned home for good.
“He's been going great. I obviously played against Rory in the club championship game against Kilmacud and he was good against us that night,” said McCarthy.
“He'll add greatly to our already great set of backs. The competition has ramped up altogether now again.
“Everyone's pushing so hard for places. Everyone's worrying about their own spots at the moment, the competition is that good. So it's exciting to see how it goes.”
McCarthy believes O’Carroll can bring value to the Dublin dressing-room as well as make an impact on the pitch because he’s so highly regarded by his team-mates
“Lads have a lot of respect for him, he's a great character and he's a strong-willed man,” said McCarthy. “He was obviously a very important player for us before he went away.
“He's come back now, he's excited to be back and he has a huge challenge to compete for a place on the team. Lads were delighted to have him back.”
O’Carroll’s return might be a plus for Dublin, but, on the flip side, McCarthy admits the recent retirement of Paul Flynn is a loss for the panel.
“Paul is an all or nothing man,” said McCarthy. “He was a great leader in the team. He really drove that team on for years.
“He's going to be a big loss but you've got to respect the decision he's made. I won't miss him too much, we used to go toe-to-toe a lot for many years and were knocking scalps out of each other in A vs B games (laughs).
“I'm joking but he was a great servant to the team.”
There has been no shortage of speculation in recent weeks that Diarmuid Connolly might yet return to the Dublin panel before the year is out, and McCarthy admits it would be a boost if he did.
“Jim (Gavin) has an open door policy,” said McCarthy. “Diarmuid is a great player, (it would be) great to have him back.
“You've just got to respect the decision there but it's always an open door policy there. You'll have to ask Jim that.”
James McCarthy was speaking at AIB’s launch of the 2019 All Ireland Senior Football Championship. Entering into their fifth season sponsoring the county championship and now in their 28th year sponsoring the club championships, AIB champion the belief that ‘Club Fuels County’.