Jack McCaffrey's performance in Croke Park last Saturday left many of us watching it spellbound. For the entire first half, a half in which Cork gave Dublin genuine troubles, the Clontarf man caused chaos on a constant basis, flying up both wings an hundred miles an hour, leaving half of Cork in his wake.
GOAL for Dublin! Jack McCaffrey with the finish pic.twitter.com/Ij7LRA7vgL
— The GAA (@officialgaa) July 13, 2019
By the end of the game, Cork's half forwards were barely able to walk from trying to keep up with him. McCaffrey however was still at full pace, involved close to the goal for Niall Scully's sealing goal.
On this week's Three Man Weave podcast, Maurice, Mick and Mark discussed the impact of McCaffrey.
Maurice: Your first port of call shouldn't be 'do we have a system that could limit Dublin?', your first port of call is, 'do we have someone fit enough to live with Jack McCaffrey?'
Mick and Mark: No!
Mark: You needn't bother asking that question. It's not even fitness, it's speed! The first half against Cork, you're just looking and thinking, 'what are they meant to do here?'
Mick: There was an epiphany for me during the first half, I think Jack McCaffrey might be the best footballer to ever play the game. There was a point when I thought, 'I don't think anybody's ever been as unstoppable and as useful in every single blade of grass on the field. He's at the stage now where he's man of the match in the All-Ireland semi-final and final last year, he's been Dublin's best player in a number of huge games over the years, and this year, he's unplayable. He's been Dublin's best player in every game again and nearly won the game on his own in the first half.
Maurice then told a story about a chance encounter with McCaffrey last spring that illustrates the commitment that has got him to this level.
Last year, I went into watch Galway play Dublin in the League final. This was 2018, this was a different era for Galway, there was a lot more optimism about the direction they were going in. We watched what we thought was Galway narrowing the gap on Dublin, and I remember leaving, and there was a degree of optimism that maybe there's a team that could watch Dublin.
Then I went into the gym late that night after work, and it was pretty much empty. And then Jack McCaffrey arrived in, I think he was studying to be a doctor and he was doing an internship somewhere around there. He started training beside me. And it never even dawned on that he hadn't played yet. He had his cruciate injury the year before and he was yet to come back.
So the night of the League final, he was in there, by himself, training, and since then, he came back and was man of the match in the All-Ireland semi-final, man of the match in the final, was probably unlucky not to get Player of the Year last year, and has improved again coming into this year. I think he's incredible.
You can listen to the full discussion about Dublin's victory over Cork from seven minutes in.
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