JAMES McCARTHY AIMING TO GET BACK INTO TOP CONDITION FOR DUBS.
JAMES McCarthy isn’t about to feel sorry for himself but you can tell there’s an element of frustration there.
These past couple of years, the Dublin wing-back has carried a groin injury and while it hasn’t affected his Championship time or – given he won a first All Star this year – his performances, he’d just prefer not to have it.
Serving as many masters as McCarthy has over the past few years across the full span of the bulksome GAA year has led him to suspect overuse as the chief culprit behind his ailment.
“I look after myself,” he notes.
“I’m beginning to think it is (the cause). I haven’t had much time off to be honest and just going for long seasons and playing a lot of games.
“It must be, it has to be, just the volumes I guess it eventually gets you.
“We have lads who have more wear and tear than breaking bones or things snapping like that.
“It definitely is a factor particularly those years at 20 or 21 when you’re playing 21, senior, club, college. It just comes.
“In a way, I’m delighted I can just concentrate on the one team now.”
That’s because unlike each of the past four years, McCarthy is no longer eligible for Sigerson Cup and thus winter/spring activity should he wholly less hectic.
And unlike 2013, he has no outstanding club issues to attend to, giving Jim Gavin and his medical team the opportunity to own the exclusive rights on McCarthy’s training programme.
Which in itself, should feel like something of a luxury to McCarthy and completely juxtaposed to those years when training session preceded endless training session.
“There’s no structure to it,” he surmises. “You’re just going from one competition to the next
“You do have time off but it’s a bit of a mess. You’d just like to know you’ve a set time off like six weeks off.
“There is surely a way to tidy the thing up. They have to do it.”
“They’ve been talking about the Champions League. It’s definitely something to look at.
“Look at all the other sports like Aussie Rules, football, I think we have to try and move with the times and learn from these and not be so old or ancient in our approach. Just move with them.”
McCarthy’s injury is one of those groin inflammations that became so deeply unpopular a couple of years ago, roughly the same condition that afflicted Alan Brogan, Bernard Brogan and Dean Rock at this time last year.
“I have had it for a while,” McCarthy explains. “It is just a case of being sensible about it.
“Some days it is just too sore and in fairness the lads were very good and they left you miss the odd session.
“It is important that you recover properly and that sometimes might mean going for a swim.”
Asked, with his playing decks relatively cleared, whether he will undergo the necessary operation, McCarthy responded: “Yeah, I will probably have to get a job done on it. That’s’ it.
“I am not sure exactly, I will have to go and see the specialist and get scans done and just get it sorted.”
Quite what the collateral damage of such a procedure might be, McCarthy isn’t exactly sure.
“I should only miss one or two league games so it should not be too bad,” he reckons.
Of his Australian recent expedition, when the Ballymun man was the only Dublin player selected by Paul Earley for the International Rules travelling party, McCarthy acknowledged the impediment to his productivity.
“There is only so much training I could do with the groin problem and I could not go as hard as I wanted to go.”
Of matters closer to home, we’ve had a declaration of intent from Ger Brennan this week about his ambitions with Dublin and a non-commital from Alan Brogan.
Having flanked Brennan in the All-Ireland wins over 2011 and ’13, McCarthy is understandably eager to see the St Vincent’s man return to the apex of the Dubs defence.
He’s one of those who holds a subscription to the theory that never was Brennan’s loss so keenly felt than the All-Ireland semi-final loss to Donegal.
“I’d say we did miss him,” McCarthy confirms.
“I’d be good friends with Gerry. We’ve played for a few good years together and we’ve a good understanding.
“I think we did miss him. I’m not quite sure when he will be back this year. I reckon they’ll go to the final again and he’ll come back later in the season.
“Hopefully, Gerry will come back fit.”
“Maybe we were naïve a bit,” he adds, recalling the Donegal game.
“The first 20 minutes I thought every thing was going really well. But the goals just came at the wrong time for us, just before and after half time, which is the worst time to concede goals.
“We had a lot of chances in the second half, we were just chasing it at the end.
“Maybe a little bit of panic set in here and there. It was just sloppy enough giving up those goals at those times, before half-time and afterwards.
“We will sit down and look at the tape again.
“They’ve been there and done that,” McCarthy adds of the necessity of retaining those two players for 2015.
“Those moments in games when the heat is on, they know how to react.
“Gerry’s won four All-Irelands and trying to go for a fifth. He definitely has a handle on these situations.
“Definitely, it is because they (older players) are great to help the young fellas coming in, they are great to help them out.
“I remember a couple of years ago when I came in myself, they helped me.
“They have seen so much they are definitely worth having around.”(The Herald)