The five-time All Ireland winner Jack McCaffrey has been outlining his reasons for leaving the all-conquering Dublin senior football panel ahead of their quest for a sixth Sam Maguire success in a row.
The Clontarf clubman McCaffrey told the Bernard Brogan Podcast on OTB Sports, as he spoke to his fellow former Dubs star Bernard Brogan, that the demands of the inter-county set-up had worn down his enthusiasm for the game.
McCaffrey’s call to quit at the tender age of 26, came as a huge shock to many in the GAA world and was hugely dispiriting in Dublin even with the non stop success of the current team, now managed by McCaffrey’s former confidante Dessie Farrell.
He pointed to the drawn all-Ireland final with Kerry last year as something with which he felt was perhaps a major turning point and a personal questioning of whether his journey has been fully satisfied.
“I think what broke me was the drawn final, I was walking off the pitch. I thought there was extra-time and (Kerry’s) David Moran just stuck his hand out to shake mine and I was like we don’t have to do this again, do we?”
McCaffrey also intimated that something didn’t feel right between the drawn game and the replay.
“Something just wasn’t right and it probably wasn’t right since halfway through the summer last year when I just felt the fun had gone out of the whole thing really.”
He even opted out of training as he couldn’t face it “If I had said to anyone, I’ve got training it would have been no hassle. I was there to learn more than anything at that point. It was a very specialised clinic and I was surplus to requirements.
“If I said I had training at seven I would have been told off you go, but I just kept my mouth shut and I stayed there until eight o’clock and I missed training.
“I was like, I can’t go there. I just turned up and told Jim I got caught late at a clinic and didn’t train. Then rolled into the next week and, thankfully, everything went well. I was so drained and then I never really got it back.”
McCaffrey hinted that his days aren’t done just yet, but says that he needs to have the buzz back before commiting to playing at the level again.
“That’s another thing that I don’t want to say that I’m doing (retiring) because I don’t really like this whole retired, probably because I’m a bit younger. I don’t want to say I’m retiring.”