DUBLIN DEFENDER JAMES McCarthy insists revenge is not on his mind as his Ballymun Kickhams side take on St Vincent’s in a heavyweight last four clash in the Dublin SFC at Parnell Park later this evening [throw-in at 19:30].
Last year, the Marino men overpowered their northside rivals at the quarter-final stage before the 2014 winners succumbed to Ballyboden in the final. But McCarthy says his side are solely focused on reaching this year’s showpiece, with no lingering thoughts on the previous encounter.
“It’s not revenge. Vincent’s have had the upper hand against us for the last few years,” McCarthy says. “We’ll be up against it, but we’re delighted to be in the county semi-final and the goal is to get to the final. It should be a great game between two good teams.”
The former DCU man missed last week’s straightforward win over Raheny with a groin injury, but says he is ready to be called upon for tonight’s showdown, after also suffering injuries to his knee and shoulder earlier in the year.
“I will definitely be fit to play; the last match probably came too soon for me. I suppose, I have been unlucky with injuries in the last couple of weeks, but the knee has been healing up well. It’s not ideal, but it’s a long season.”
McCarthy was speaking at an AIB launch event where anyone who switches or purchases a new AIB Home Insurance policy can nominate a GAA club of their choice to receive a €50 cash reward.
McCarthy, who won the Dublin and Leinster title with Ballymun in 2012, will be well aware of several names throughout the Vinnies team. And perhaps no more so than his Dublin teammate Diarmuid Connolly, with familiarity bringing a healthy sense of rivalry between the opposing set of players.
“It is completely different in many ways to championship games, with the crowd on top of you and the mucky pitches. There’s a different dynamic.
“I would be friends with some of the players on the Vincent’s side, but we park it when it comes to the games.
“There will be no sympathy on either side, we’ll go hammer and tongs but shake hands afterwards. I suppose that gives a bit of an edge to these matches too,” the 26-year-old continues.
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Despite winning four All-Ireland titles with Dublin over the past six seasons, the Ballymun star’s will to succeed for club or county has yet to be dampened, however McCarthy warns that the relentless demands put on the players is an area that may need to be looked at by the GAA, a point that was echoed by Vincent’s manager Tommy Conroy last week.
“It is tough. It’s no secret. Especially the first week after the two physical games in the final against Mayo, that was hard going.
“It has been a long couple of seasons, I am just happy I don’t have to also juggle the U21s and college sides as well. In an ideal world, the calendar will be rejigged but it’s up to the people to sit down and fix it.
“At times, it can be tough. But once you get the taste of success you want more and more. When you win one, you want two, and then three.”
The march to yet more silverware continues tonight.
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