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Cafferkey is ‘happy out’

Sport

EXPERIENCED Ger Cafferkey played his 103rd game for Mayo last Saturday night. Pic: Sportsfile

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Mike Finnerty

SOME Mayo supporters have very short memories, especially when it comes to Ger Cafferkey.
For 10 years now the Ballina Stephenites full-back has been a wonderful servant to the Mayo senior team, but some sections of the county’s supporters seemed to be convinced that his race as an inter-county footballer was run.
Cafferkey started 10 of Mayo’s 12 league and championship games in 2018 under Stephen Rochford, and undoubtedly had a few tough days at the office along the way.
Ergo, the assumption in some quarters seemed to be that his county career was as good as over.
However, last Saturday night James Horan picked Cafferkey at full-back for his first league appearance of the season.
And the 2012 All Star didn’t let him or Mayo down, marking his 103rd appearance with an assured display against Cavan.
So impressed was former Down footballer Marty Clarke with Cafferkey’s performance that he picked him for ‘man of the match’ on Eir Sport.
So the 31 year-old from Ballina was interviewed for what we believe was possibly only the second time during his Mayo senior career! (The first was after being named man of the match by TG4 after a league match a few years ago).
Cafferkey’s catchphrase during Saturday night’s interview — ‘Happy out’ — told you all you needed to know.
 “We watched the last few games, we knew Cavan were going to run at us hard. They bring a lot of energy, they’re a very physical team,” he told Eir Sport.
“They were tough conditions out there so we were happy just to get out with another win. So, happy out.”
And his thoughts on Evan Regan’s goal?
“It was badly needed, because we were under pressure.
“Especially in the first 10 minutes, they really hit us hard.
So we fought back, and the goal couldn’t have come at a better time. So, happy out.”
What about Mayo’s flying start to the National League?
“We worked hard over the winter so we’re just looking to build and build on that again. We’re happy with where we are, but we need to go further.”
He smiled and made his feelings clear when asked about the ‘great team unity’ that seems to be in Mayo’s ranks these days.
“You train how many times a week together? If there wasn’t team unity there’d be something wrong,” he grinned.
James Horan was asked about Cafferkey’s performance and the criticism that has been levelled at the experienced defender after Saturday’s game.
The manager didn’t mince his words on the subject.
“Those fans who give out about Ger Caff, I really don’t understand it. We’ve open sessions here every Tuesday and Friday and if they want to come down and see how he’s playing, it might give them a better idea of the type of form that he is in.
“Did he answer critics? I don’t believe in any of that, I just thought he was outstanding in there tonight and I’m delighted for him.
“I think it was one of his best games. I just thought he was superb the way he played, he was outstanding, simply outstanding.”
It’s been a few long, hard years for Ger Cafferkey, who works as an engineer with the Office of Public Works in Donegal these days.
He recovered from a career-threatening hamstring injury in 2016 to nail down a place in Stephen Rochford’s squads and teams over the last two seasons. But getting back to full fitness and up to speed again was far from straightforward.
And he had a few ropey days along the way.
But James Horan wasn’t prepared to go into battle this year without him, and he leapt to the player’s defence on Saturday night.
By the sound of things, and judging by his shift against Cavan, Ger Cafferkey still has a role to play for Mayo.
It may be as cover or as a back-up option, or he may be drafted in for certain assignments. He could even become a regular again if he keeps delivering the goods.
Last weekend he showed he hasn’t gone away.

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