Carthy glad of breather
Vins and Dublin man has had a long and successful season
With the ever-increasing demands placed on inter-county players in the current Gaelic Games environment, Shane Carthy is one player who is enjoying his festive break more than most.
Carthy was part of Dublin's successful retention of Sam Maguire and once that had been achieved, he returned to help his club St Vincent's regain their Dublin Senior Football Championship title after the pain of falling to Ballyboden St Enda's in the 2015 final.
A nice haul of medals and a Dubs Stars award earlier in the month reflects the influence that Carthy has exerted this year but the situation is far from ideal, especially in terms of his inter-county ambitions further down the line.
"You are playing from the start of the year to the end of the year with your club and your county and don't get me wrong, it's very enjoyable to be in a position to do so," said Carthy.
"You're privileged in that aspect but I would pose the question as why all these fixtures can't be completed in a specified structure.
"For example, do we need four weeks between inter-county games in the middle of the summer, a time when we should be playing more frequently than that?
"It's tough being involved with your club in February or March while you're trying to break into the Dublin team as you miss a fair chunk of the league preparations and matches.
"I'm not making excuses but you are at a disadvantage in that scenario and that's not taking into account any break that is essential for a player, given the demands on players at present," he added.
Having such a talented group to return to in St Vincent's helped Carthy to refocus as Vinnies proved determined to atone for the disappointment of the previous year.
His form and versatility have been especially vital given the absence of Eamon Fennell from the St Vincent's midfield and Carthy is just happy to play anywhere as long as he can make a telling contribution for his team.
"At the start of the year, the main goal was to win back the Dublin championship and we regrouped after the disappointment of losing to Ballyboden last year.
"In fairness the group is very strong and we have a lot of strong leaders there in the likes of Mossy Quinn, Diarmuid Connolly and Michael Savage as well.
"We responded very well to the setback of last year and were naturally delighted to have won it back.
"I had nine months with Dublin from the start of January to the start of October and I really enjoyed it as I was learning all the time from Jim Gavin and the backroom team.
"I was trying to soak up as much of it as I could, working on my own game as well as trying to contribute something to the group in their ambitions to defend the All-Ireland.
"Coming back to the club is different, not necessarily in terms of the standard but it does take a bit of adjusting to in terms of the routine.
"It's very enjoyable to get back to the club because I wouldn't have seen that much competitive action when with Dublin so I had a bit of a point to prove as well.
"It's all about the team ethos that we try to have in Vincent's but it is nice to have an individual award to recognise the effort and contribution that you make for your club.
"The season can take its toll as my year lasted eleven and a half months so it's nice to have some recognition for those efforts.
"I have tried to adapt my game a bit just for the team and it's a different role that I have.
"This year, it worked out well for us and I just want to contribute in any way I can," he concluded.