Jim Gavin has confirmed James McCarthy is available to face Donegal in Saturday’s All-Ireland quarter-final but has acknowledged there is a risk attached to playing him, writes John Fogarty.
The Ballymun Kickhams player is being considered for a match-day panel position after a quad injury ruled him out of the Leinster final win over Westmeath.
Although, Gavin accepted playing him carries a potential downside. “Well, I think any player coming back for their first game there is always that threat. Now it has been managed well and when player feels he is good to go and the medical team agrees with that consensus, that’s what I’ll take.
“I’ve never put any player under pressure to get back, the medical team is there, it is the players choice, once they feel they are 100% we will go with that.”
At the same time, Gavin knows how important a player McCarthy is to Dublin. “Obviously, he hasn’t played for a few weeks, like an inter-county game, but he is a very experienced player and it is good to have him back.
“He has been excellent in that half-back line. Defensively, first and foremost, he has been very strong and obviously he gives us attacking options as well. But he is one of a number of players that is in that back division that are playing well. Everybody who has taken to the field to represent the county in that back division has done extremely well. We are lucky to have cover in that area.”
Gavin was impressed how McCarthy dealt with the setback. “He pretty much didn’t blink. That would be James really. He took it on the chin and he applied himself to get back. He has met all, probably was a bit ahead, of all his goals so it is just great to have him back on grass last week, which is great news.”