McCaffrey 'delighted' with Farrell appointment
By John Harrington
Jack McCaffrey says everyone in the Dublin panel is delighted that Dessie Farrell was the County Board’s choice to replace Jim Gavin as team manager.
McCaffrey was coached by Farrell from U-13 level right up to the U-21 grade with Dublin.
He’s one of a number of players on the current senior panel with previous experience of working with a man who managed the Dublin minors to All-Ireland success in 2012 and then repeated the trick with the U-21s in 2014 and 2017.
“Yeah, delighted,” said McCaffrey when asked about Farrell’s appointment.
“And delighted for Dessie. I think looking at his credentials and his progression over the last while, it was a very logical choice and a very good choice for Dublin.
“I think that, yeah, for us who have played under him it's great, but, equally, there's a lot of positivity from the entire group because there's an awful lot of people there who haven't (played under him).
“It's kind of like from my age down that Dessie would have had a hand in. And for everyone older than me, he wouldn't. There's plenty in those camps. I think the group as a whole have all heard very positive things.
“We've had a meeting and everyone is really excited and rearing to go.”
Filling the shoes of Jim Gavin who led Dublin to six All-Ireland senior titles in seven years will be an onerous task for Farrell but McCaffrey believes the qualities that made him a successful manager at minor and U-21 level will transfer well to the senior grade.
“I suppose Dessie was great when he was managing me because, first of all, he had some really good people around him.
“He was very good at managing each individual player on a personal level which is pretty important at that minor and underage level and equally so at senior.
“And, then, I suppose he has a first-hand experience of being an inter-county player. He understands the pressures that go with it. The drivers that are there.
“And he can tap into that pretty well. I don't know what exactly his approach will be this year, we haven't started yet. But pretty excited to see what it is.”
McCaffrey admits it came as a “complete surprise” to him when Jim Gavin announced he was stepping down and was generous in his praise of the former Dublin manager.
"Fantastic. For seven years of my life, he was the most important person outside of my family,” said McCaffrey.
“It was tough at times no doubt, as is everything with inter-county football. But it was really enjoyable, we've been very lucky to have some phenomenal days out and I suppose with all that management team, (I'm) lucky enough to call them friends at this point. Way, way down the line when all this nonsense is finished, we can meet up at some point and shoot the breeze.
"It was fantastic. I think, knowing Jim, the last thing he would want is for us to kick back and spend this year thinking about how great a time we had in the past. The best thing we can do for him is to row in behind Dessie now and kind of drive on and push our standards a little bit further."
"There's definitely responsibility on us to drive it on a bit and to make sure nothing slips. But I can't imagine Dessie would let that happen anyway. He's too astute to let that happen. I don't think there's a particularly different vibe to things yet this year. It's player-driven and we have to set our standards so more of the same on that front."
McCaffrey, a recently qualified Doctor, will finish a six-month rotation in Temple Street Hospital this week and will then begin a six-month rotation in St. Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny.
That will make life a little more complicated in terms of travelling to and from training and matches with Dublin, but he's confident he'll be able to make it work.
"It’ll be tricky, it’ll take a bit of juggling," he said. "It’ll be a bit hairy at the start, you have to do your job so I’ll have to chat to everyone involved, what weekends would be OK to work, what weekends I definitely need to not be in work and then chatting to my colleagues and hopefully being able to be a little bit flexible around that.
"I won’t know till I get started but it’s absolutely doable, it just takes a bit of doing."