A groin problem and taking up a new, retracted role protecting the defence on occasions didn’t help his cause for personal honours although his All- Ireland final and semi-final replay performances were key to his team’s ultimate success.
The lack of an All-Star nomination didn’t in any way take away from his third All-Ireland title. “The first one (2011) was very special but last year we just had this group and it was the best craic I ever had throughout a year whilst working hard and having a very competitive environment.
“We were always challenged, always feeling like you have to perform in training and everything like that. But when we had any training camps or any training sessions as a group we had the best craic ever. If you are enjoying your football that much, it just makes it so much easier and that’s what makes me look forward to 2016 so much.”
Bettering his 2014 season, which he believes was his best personal year to date, is now high on the agenda. “Sports people talk about being in the zone — I was just comfortable, confident,” he says of that year. “Every game I felt I was going to get scores. Every game I felt my passes were finding the man, I was going to win the kick-outs, I was going to find myself in the right place for breaks. Everything felt like it was easy. In my own head it was easy.
“There can be times when you are playing a game when you can be constantly battling with yourself. I need to get on the next ball, I need to make the next pass. In 2014 it was a flow.” Flynn knows his performances last year didn’t hit the heights of 2014 but argues they weren’t so bad. “I probably played as well, if not better, than I did in ’11. It’s just that your own standards are rising each year.
“The first game against Longford, I didn’t do too badly either. The next two games I didn’t score. If I’d scored the points, it would have been fine. But, yeah, in the All-Ireland series I started getting better. The second semi-final against Mayo, I was that close to being pulled out of the game. Because in the warm-up, I hurt my…I got a knock and I hurt right up the top of my hamstring.” After being told to rest his groin for three months, Flynn completed his first running session last night.
He hopes to be available for next month’s Division 1 round two clash with Mayo in Castlebar; failing that, the visit of Cork to Croke Park.
“Every player has niggles. I had very few injuries over the last while. I was very lucky. It was only a matter of time, really, because everyone gets chronic injuries really, given the way we abuse our bodies.”
Flynn is keen to get a solid campaign behind him going into the summer. “I’ve played every league and I feel like you build your form. You have ups and downs, you can work on things. For us collectively, the league has been very good to Dublin over the last number of years but individually as well.
“You get your match fitness up, you get really good competitive games against Division 1 teams.
“You can work through your form. You don’t mind if you have a bad game but you reflect on them without the world watching them. You might go under the radar and have a bad game. At least you can say ‘what was it that didn’t go well for me today?’”
- Paul Flynn was speaking at the launch of the Setanta Sports Allianz Football fixtures launch yesterday. Dublin’s Division 1 opener v Kerry on Saturday week is one of 17 games Setanta Sports will bring to viewers.