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Saturday 25 January 2020

Recharged Flynn determined to drive Lilywhites back up the ranks

Daniel Flynn of Kildare in attendance at the launch of On The Ball Team Building training camps in the Dingle Peninsula. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Daniel Flynn of Kildare in attendance at the launch of On The Ball Team Building training camps in the Dingle Peninsula. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

When it is put to Daniel Flynn about possibly getting cold feet and leaving the Kildare football fold again, the answer is pretty emphatic and it will be music to Lilywhite supporters.

"I can't see that happening now to be honest. If things do start to ramp up and life starts to get hectic and busy, there are ways to manage that," Flynn said at the official launch of On The Ball Team Building Training Camps along the Dingle Peninsula.

"Even if you have to take a week or two off for training to carry on for the rest of the year, lads are doing that anyway. It's just being clever, managing your time. I'm kind of happy enough to roll on for the next couple of years. I haven't too many years left."

The last remark is tongue-in-cheek considering that Flynn is only 26 but he seems re-invigorated having walked away from the Kildare panel last season when his passion for the game began to diminish.

That shocked GAA fans after a scintillating 2018 which saw him terrorise defenders and help propel Kildare into the Super 8s but the live-wire attacker is quick to pour cold water over rumours of any disagreement between him and former manager Cian O'Neill.

"Cian was there and people were saying that I wasn't involved because there was a fallout, there was none of that to be honest, we get on very well. I got on really well with all the lads, it was just a personal choice.

"He obviously didn't want me to pull out but he completely understood and tried his absolute best to try and hang onto me but at the end of the day I had to stand up and do what was right for me," Flynn said.

Balancing work, college and playing commitments were becoming a drain and a year out of the fold was like a breath of fresh air for the Johnstownbridge clubman.

Enjoy

"It's done me the world of good. I got to play with my club and I got to enjoy going to training again and enjoy playing with the lads, that element was starting to wane a small bit so now I'm back in and I'm loving it.

"I started to resist it a small bit, I didn't want to go to training or it was becoming a bit of a chore, it started to get to me so I said that taking a step back was the right thing to do. The grá had kind of gone. I sat down with Johnny Doyle, he was managing the college team (Maynooth University) and he said 'you look like a fella who has kind of fallen out of love with the game' and he was probably right.

"To take a step back from it was the right thing to do so it's great now, I love the game again now. I'm really happy to be back playing, back in around the lads and training hard. When I wasn't playing last year, I started to miss it again."

Flynn admits that it was tough to feel like he was "letting people down", partiuclarly his Lilywhite teammates, having left the fray and that "funny looks" when attending Kildare games initially got under his skin.

"You're kind of a small bit embarrassed. At the start I was trying not to be seen or going to the far side of the terrace. Once you meet your friends in the stand, it's grand. You don't really mind. As the games went on, I started not to care really what any one says," he said.

Many questioned whether Flynn would have the appetite for an inter-county return under new boss Jack O'Connor but no pitch was needed from the former Kerry supremo when they met in Maynooth's Glenroyal Hotel a few months back.

"He wanted to see what I thought and how I was feeling. Everybody was wondering why I wasn't in in 2019, so I think he was more curious to see what the story was," Flynn said.

"I said to him, 'look, it's just that I needed a break and I want to get back into it, I'm eager for it'.

"He asked me how my appetite for football was, I said 'yeah, it's great,' so he said 'that's fine so, you'll get on fine'.

"Whoever would have been in charge I would have been eager to go back in.

"It's Kildare at the end of the day, it's your friends. So it's definitely a boost to have Jack, but I would have wanted to go back in anyway."

Competitive

Flynn's competitive return was delayed last weekend after picking up a minor hamstring strain - although he already took part in a recent challenge game against Down - but he expects to be involved in this Saturday's O'Byrne Cup clash with Wicklow (Arklow, 2.0) when they face off against former Kildare U20 All-Ireland-winning boss Davy Burke.

Flynn, who shares a house in Maynooth with his Kildare team-mates Mark Donnellan and Neil Flynn, commenced work with KPMG on St Stephen's Green recently, and is ready to put his shoulder to the wheel with the Lilies and see what happens.

"We are in the middle of Division 2, trying to fight for promotion really. I think for us to look beyond that is a bit far-fetched. We've a good bit of work to do, I think we know that but we're excited," Flynn said.

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