Kevin Flahive: Real championship buzz around Cork panel heading to Croke Park

Footballers face Dublin in Saturday's All-Ireland quarter-final but the Douglas defender is out through injury
Kevin Flahive: Real championship buzz around Cork panel heading to Croke Park

Kevin Flahive is a big loss for Cork at Croke Park. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

A rehabbing Kevin Flahive will be in Croke Park cheering on his Cork teammates as they battle Dublin in Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC quarter-final.

A leg injury late in Cork’s Munster semi-final loss to Kerry turned into a dreaded anterior cruciate ligament tear for the Douglas player.

Nine to twelve months of intensive rehab is the average time for bouncing back from such a setback. Already well into his rehabilitation, for Flahive the mental rather than physical strains have been most difficult.

Watching on from the stands is not easy, so the inter-county defender can only focus on a spring 2023 return.

Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

“Am I a good watcher of GAA games? It depends on who is sitting beside me, to be honest,” Flahive said.

“That’s because, in my own head, even when I’m watching from the stands, I am kicking most of the balls anyway.

TOUGH

“I’d be fairly vocal watching games, too. Ever since I was a young fella, my mother and father would be giving out to me to hold my tongue," he laughs. "In all seriousness, I am finding it tough, especially when you see the boys involved in big games, like Dublin this weekend. That’s why I think I’ll find it just as tough when the club championship comes around.

“I will be above in Croke Park supporting the lads, given the giant task they have playing against Dublin. 

What I wouldn’t give to be out there, marking the likes of Con O’Callaghan.

“These are the days you want to be involved the most, so it is extremely difficult for me right now.

“There is a real championship buzz around the panel and not being part of it — through no fault of anyone’s, it was just a freak injury — is tough. That’s sport.

“These things happen. Seeing the lads playing so well is driving me on and where I want to be myself in nine to twelve months’ time.”

That level-headed and philosophical approach will stand to Kevin Flahive over the coming months. Setbacks are inevitable, but next year’s inter-county championship appears a realistic target.

Flahive namechecks Douglas GAA many times, underlining how much he will miss his club as well as inter-county GAA commitments.

“I am heavily involved with the Cork seniors, yes, but I’d definitely be more involved with my club, Douglas, as one of the more experienced, older inter-county players there,” Flahive added.

“I’d like to think I definitely have more of an impact with Douglas. I’ve been trying to re-evaluate my own position by making sure that, even though I’m injured, I’m going to be a part of my club over the coming year.

This year is a write-off, but I still have a lot of great friends in Douglas GAA and want to help out as much as I can.

“I will have to sit down with Douglas’ coaches and try to see what value I can bring while I’m off the pitch this year.

“It is going to be very difficult to not be involved on the playing side of things. You don’t realise when you are playing how amped up people are on the sidelines.

“I actually hear fans during our games now, because when playing all of that is blocked out. I block it out anyway. You might have 10,000 people watching you, but you are completely fixed on the man you are marking and the next ball. Nothing else.

“So, the next step for me is to evaluate what I can bring to Douglas. Even if it is an input in one or two drills in training, helping out selectors or just helping out individual players.

“Maybe trying to see where I can help out our younger fellas and help them improve. That’s probably the role I will take with my club for the rest of the year.”

Flahive will certainly be missed on the pitch, where his Douglas teammates are hoping to improve on last year’s Cork PSFC semi-final exit.

“To be honest, any way I can try and help the lads to get out of our group and reach another county semi-final, I will,” the Douglas defender said.

“Hopefully, Douglas can push on this year, get out of our group, past the quarter-finals and semi-finals. As I said, just push on from last year as best we can.”

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