While the last number of months have proven difficult for the inter-county scene, Jack McCaffrey's decision to opt out of the Dublin inter-county football scene is the latest setback in a season of surreal complications for Dessie Farrell.
According to Irish Independent journalist Conor McKeon, he claims the news does not come as a massive shock as he states this story has been circulating for a few months but described the presence of the Clontarf man on the field as unique.
“All the clichés applied; he is a once in a generation talent. He has a very rare skillset that I haven’t seen any other player around have. He probably is irreplaceable.”
“Dublin have a lot of footballers who could lay claim in being the best footballer of their position in the country, but what McCaffrey has is totally unique.”
In analysing his brief but glittering career under the Jim Gavin era, McKeon states that McCaffrey is perhaps the most decorated footballer of modern times, winning the Young Footballer-of-the-Year award in his debut season in 2013, the Footballer-of-the-Year award in 2015 and All-Stars in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019. He missed out on the 2016 season to go travelling.
He has also been named Man of the Match in two All-Ireland Finals in 2018 against Tyrone and in last year’s drawn final against Kerry.
“As a footballer, he is the sort of guy that sets little goals for himself. Like in the 2018 All-Ireland final, he was Man of the Match and he never even finished a final before that,” McKeon told OTB.
McKeon draws parallels between McCaffrey and two former Footballers of the Year who also played as attacking wingbacks, Tomás O’Sé and Lee Keegan. While citing the greatness of all three players, McKeon argued that McCaffrey had something in him that stood out from the rest.
“Both O’Sé and Keegan carried the ball so well when they carried it at full tilt, whereas what McCaffrey does is he can go from zero to 90 in one quick gear change. He’s the guy after ten hand passes in a row, takes the chance, brings the ball into contact and sets a bit of electricity around Croke Park.”
“It was almost like he was built for the big games.”
It is still unknown to what reason McCaffrey has in leaving the Dublin panel, with McKeon doubting it was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think a lot of people went on the assumption that maybe the risk of being a frontline worker was affecting his decision, but I’m fairly confident that’s not the case. Jack might be the guy that thinks there is more to life than just Dublin football.”