Daniel Flynn says gap closing between Dublin and their rivals
Kildare forward believes Mayo’s display in the final will give hope to chasing pack
Daniel Flynn: “Watching Mayo in the final, it does give you hope. It shows that Dublin are just human.” Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Daniel Flynn is doing his best to move beyond regrets.
The obvious one that will rattle around his brain this winter is what if he’d powered the ball low and hard beyond Stephen Cluxton at Croke Park last July.
The Kildare full-forward broke through on goal in the 42nd minute of the Leinster final and, with six points between Kildare and Dublin, had the opportunity to cut that deficit in half. To sow a genuine seed of doubt in Dublin minds.
But the 6ft 3in attacker’s shot flew straight at Cluxton who threw up a big right hand to avert the danger with relative ease.
Dublin scored the next three points and opened up a nine-point difference that remained at full-time.
Flynn, looking back, acknowledges that he “missed a sitter” though he’s trying to look at it a different way.
“We were nine points down after 20 minutes – we were beaten by nine points,” noted Flynn, accentuating the positive.
“We’re getting there. We pushed them hard. If things went our way, if we didn’t let in those two goals, if I’d scored that goal, you never know. We’re trying to catch them. I don’t think there is that much in it. I think the gap is closing between the rest of the counties and Dublin.
“Watching Mayo in the final, it does give you hope. It shows that Dublin are just human, it’s just 15 versus 15, white ball, green grass, everything is the same for both teams. It’s how you perceive them, and how you go at them, that’s the obstacle.
“We had huge belief going into that game that we were going to beat Dublin. I think that’s the right way to go at them, to go and play football. Mayo had that belief, we had it. Those two games were similar.
“They obviously pushed them a lot closer than we did but the styles of the games were similar. We went out and played football, rather than trying not to lose. Some teams are nearly beaten before they go out.”
Another regret that Flynn took longer to overcome related to his decision to turn his back on an Australian Rules contract in early 2015.
He cited homesickness as his reason at the time for leaving Port Adelaide and while things have since worked out well – he was recently nominated for an All-Star award – he took a while to stop glancing back at what he’d left behind.
“I had a small bit of regret for a little while, maybe a year,” said the Johnstownbridge man who conducted yesterday’s draw for the Top Oil Leinster Schools ‘A’ football championship.
“It was hard to settle back in, job wise, knowing what to do with yourself, when everyone else had gone two or three years ahead.
“I’m in college now, doing Accounting and Finance in Maynooth, just after getting a job with KPMG after I finished, so it’s all working out for me, hopefully. But there was a ‘what if’ sort of thing. That was the big doubt with me over whether I’d made the right call. But the football is going well here, my life is going well. I’m on that upward curve getting to where I want to be.”