Daniel Flynn says Jack O’Connor’s appointment as Kildare manager in late 2019 was part of the reason he returned to the county set-up.
Citing a lack of appetite, the Johnstownbridge man questioned in this newspaper in December 2018 if “the juice was worth the squeeze” despite picking up an All-Star nomination the previous season.
Flynn’s love for the game was rekindled at club level and his return to Kildare colours was a natural progression.
“I think you see more and more players taking that time out. The one that springs to mind is (Paul) Mannion at the minute. I think the demands of inter-county football, they’re not simple.
“So for me, playing with the club and playing well meant that it (a return) was just a natural thing then. When Jack came on board and the lads on the squad and the friendships you have with them ... it sort of fell back into place naturally enough. The enjoyment came from playing with the club really. And taking that step back meant that I could just probably enjoy it again. I’m enjoying it more now than I ever did before. Which is great.”
The 26-year-old reckons he has a better life balance than he did when he stepped away in late 2018. “Yeah, I felt maybe under pressure back in 2018/19. I was trying to do a lot of things.”
A trainee accountant with KPMG in Dublin currently on study leave, Flynn says O’Connor alternates between acting as a chairman and getting hands-on involved in training sessions.
“Jack is his own man. He’s a very deep thinker. He sits back at training. He’d do some of the coaching all right. But he takes everything in.
“I think he has done very well this year to get us all going. There’s a greater bond within the group now I feel. After last year, things were scrappy.
“He wants us to play an open expansive style of football. You don’t disregard your defensive duty. But you also go and have a crack and try and play a nice style of football.”
Kildare head into Sunday’s Leinster quarter-final against Offaly coming shortly off the back of securing promotion at the expense of Meath in their Division 2 semi-final.
“It’s always important to beat Meath!” smiles Flynn. “Yeah, you definitely want to right some wrongs. Meath would be the same. Whenever we go out to play Meath, we always think we have a chance. And they feel the same about us.”
Flynn’s mother hails from Offaly but he is not certain of playing against them as he recovers from a hamstring issue.
“It’s touch and go, so I’m back in training this week. I pulled my right hamstring in the first League game maybe six weeks ago against Cork. I was back after three or four weeks and the first night back at training I pulled the other hamstring.”