Daniel Flynn and Kildare eager for the next assignment
Footballer of the Month for June looking forward to facing Armagh in Croke Park
Daniel Flynn: “I’m content with my life, enjoying my football as well. If you are down in the dumps it is bound to have knock-on-effect on the field.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
The regrets, admits Daniel Flynn, are few, though some are unavoidably mentionable. Beginning with that goal chance against Dublin in the Leinster football final.
Kildare may have been chasing an unassailable deficit, but when Flynn found himself one-on-one with Stephen Cluxton in the second half the chance was open to certainly reinvigorate the contest.
“About five different things were going through my head, and I did none of them,” recalls Flynn, speaking at Croke Park after picking up his GAA/GPA Footballer of the Month award for June.
“In a way I’m happy it happened, just wish I had scored. But I can still take a huge amount from it, learning from these things. It’s a matter of just being in the moment.
“I couldn’t actually see anything. I got the ball and thought ‘jeez I’m one on one here in front of the Hill, how did this happen?’ I thought about going around him . . . I thought about placing it . . . I thought about burying it . . . but I ended up just kicking it at him.
“It was more the fact it was so open, I was a bit shocked by that. I actually watched it back actually on The Sunday Game, the lads were watching it in the house – they were giving me a nice time about it. There was so much space there to the right. I thought ‘he’ll jump this way’. So again just disappointing.”
Dublin, he still feels, are beatable. “I think any team is beatable on the day, but just that experience really helps them, and maybe we shut off after the two goals. It’s just about being tuned in for the full 70 minutes, so that’s a big learning curve, even my goal chance.
“I suppose personally I feel we’re in a good place, but we were still beaten by nine points. I was encouraged that we were nine points down after 20 minutes, and we were beaten by nine points. We were there for the rest of the game, and that third quarter was huge for us.”
What is certain, Flynn says, is that Kildare have put that defeat behind them going into Saturday evening’s fourth qualifier against Armagh.
“Yeah the mood is good. Having lost to Dublin it does take a few days to get over, get the frustration out at training and that.
“I think any bit longer would be too long, but I realise now as well the six day turnaround thing would have be very hard. I think if we were out last weekend it would have been very tough. It took me until Wednesday to get that negativity out of the system, start focusing on the next game, so a week would be too short.
Again Flynn doesn’t completely disguise some regret about the manner in which current Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney was essentially ousted as Kildare manager at the end of the 2013 season.
It was McGeeney who first brought Flynn into the Kildare senior team, in 2012, and was also manager of the 2013 Kildare under-21 team which also featured Flynn, winning the Leinster title that year.
“I wouldn’t have a bad thing to say about him,” he says, and leaves it at that.
Now 23, Flynn is one of four Kildare players back on board with the county after an overseas sojourn, which took him to Port Adelaide in the AFL, starting in 2013. His time over there was stop-start, and though he went back again in 2014, returned for good in the middle of 2015.
The one regret there, he says, is being a little too young to fully appreciate – or indeed take – the chance: “Hindsight’s 20/20 but if I was to go over now again, I wouldn’t buy into it more as such but I’d really have a go at it. I think I went through the motions a bit over there because it was handed up to me and I didn’t have to work really, really hard for it from a young age to really, really chase it, it kind of came to me out of nowhere and I took it.
“But I grew up a bit out there in Australia and realised how things are done. I think it can only help now, yeah. I don’t know if it can help in terms of skills of the game or that, but from a lifestyle point of view and getting yourself right, I think so.
“I was happy I went but I really jumped into it. I was 19. Different country, different culture, on my own. On the flip side of that when I came home I felt I was a bit lost for a while, with getting back into college and stuff, it took me a while to find my feet again and that was probably the hardest part.”
He’s going into his final year in Accounting and Finance in Maynooth, and credits the GPA for getting that end of his career back on track.
“Definitely, I came home and the GPA have a player development programme and that really set me up to find out where I wanted to go because I came home and started an apprenticeship as an electrician, then starting working as a butcher in a shop down the road, just something to have a job and get a few pound, and it took me a couple of months to really find out.
“I’m content with my life, enjoying my football as well. If you are down in the dumps it is bound to have knock-on-effect on the field.”