Dublin must go without full-back Rory O’Carroll for 2016

By Stephen Barry

Dublin will be without their All-Star full-back Rory O’Carroll as they bid to retain their All-Ireland football title.

The Kilmacud Crokes clubman only turned 26 after September’s Sam Maguire success, but will use 2016 to work and travel in New Zealand.

Manager Jim Gavin confirmed the news after today’s O’Byrne Cup draw with Wexford, in which St Vincent’s Jarlath Curley started at full-back.

"Rory has decided to go away during the 2016 season,” said Gavin. “He’s moving to New Zealand, so he won’t be a part of us for the year.

“But we wish him the very best. We’ve always said to players it’s important to get the life balance, between family, their profession, and their sport. We will miss him, but we certainly wish him the best, and he goes with the sun on his back. And we look forward to the day when Rory puts on a county jersey again, and his club, Kilmaud Crokes, who will miss him as much as us.

“Well it (full-back) is a pivotal position, yeah, although maybe more in the past. The game is always evolving, and it’s certainly a position where we feel we have good cover. A player like Rory you would like to have around, but we’ve a big squad, and we’ve always espoused the team ethic.

“He’s a top class guy, a real leader on the field, and we’ve worked with him since the under-21s, going back to 2008. But it’s a great opportunity for Rory to go away and experience a different lifestyle and culture, for a year or two, and it’s a great opportunity for the gap that he’s left, and the different players pushing for that particular position.”

O’Carroll has lined out in front of Stephen Cluxton in all three of Dublin’s All-Irelands since 2011, winning All-Star recognition in 2013 and 2015.

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