MARK VAUGHAN believes he’s played his last Senior club game with Kilmacud Crokes, but he hasn’t ruled out lining out for one of their many other adult teams in the future.
“I’ve been injured for a while and I haven’t got the diagnosis,” Vaughan told Dublin Gazette. He was speaking to us at the announcement of the GPA-DCU Business School MBA scholarships of which he is a recipient.
“I don’t know what the injury is to be honest, it’s something internally. I’m waiting to get that figured out and I’ll have to see then, but I’ll probably have to drop down a few levels.”
Vaughan has been out of action for almost 12 months. He says its a long lay off and concedes it’s the end of his senior playing days.
“Effectively it is. Look, I had a good run with 16 years at senior level.
“Very few guys get that luxury of being able to play at the top for so long.
“If something changes, I’ll go back, but I can’t at the moment – especially with college added on top of it, it’s not going to be ideal.
“Obviously, you have an end goal that if you are with a team, you are with them to win it.
“But your main picture is to stay healthy and enjoy what you are doing, rather than if it becomes a chore and you feel you have to come back.
“If you are coming back injured, it’s not enjoyable for anyone!”
Vaughan is thankful that there is the ‘luxury’ in Crokes of dropping down the grades, and helping to prolong his football career.
“I think one of the teams has 12-15 ex inter-county players that are hanging around somewhere in the middle!
“I think there’s one team that’s technically very social. But it’s probably at middle standard, and that’s probably where a lot of lads end up after a few years!”
Reflecting on his career at both club and county, it’s been a memorable journey.
“If you took out the last seven years with Dublin, you would have said it was a pretty good innings,” he joked.
“I’ve five Leinster medals, but then obviously lads went on to different levels.
“With the club, I’ve been very lucky. I think I have five senior club medals out of seven that Crokes have won, and multiple Leinsters and All-Ireland medals.
“The primary thing at the end of the day is the club. Without it, you wouldn’t have any inter-county.
“The club is number one for the majority of people. Then it’s an add-on and a luxury for anyone if they make it up to senior inter-county level.”
Vaughan says he would love to give back in helping with management at some of the teams in Crokes.
“I have been asked to do it. But, with the course I’m doing at the moment, it’s not really going to be feasible,” he said.
“I’ve no problem in helping out, with the other guys on the management side. It’s probably not my ideal thing. I’m a bit of a one-dimensional thinker, and I’m probably a bit off the cuff as well!”
Looking at Dublin’s progress, since he hung up his inter-county boots, Vaughan says he can see their current success replicated for a long time to come.
“Without doubt, for others the problem is that they are so inter-changable. And there’s no one that’s indispensible there – maybe [Brian] Fenton at a push.
“Anyone in there could be changed, and it will make very little difference, which is a big concern for any other county.
“It could easily go on for a number of years. Obviously one bad game could end that run, but there’s no reason why they couldn’t go on and win another four or five All-Ireland’s.”
As for his life back in the college realm, he said: “These kind of implementations, where they are bringing ex and current GAA players into a system where the education process is there, where potentially the jobs aren’t as tolling on their body, because they are already giving a lot on the other side,” he said.
“It’s probably a double-edged sword for a lot of guys being in a trade and also a GAA player – there’s no player out there who isn’t constantly injured, and it is a great system to be able to come back years after you have finished inter-county to get the honour of this.”