A Quick 18 with Dublin's Paul Flynn — Cluxton is our Tiger Woods

A Quick 18 with Dublin's Paul Flynn — Cluxton is our Tiger Woods
Dublin's Paul Flynn

Dublin's Paul Flynn

That famous defeat to Donegal remains at the top of Paul Flynn’s list of sporting “mulligans” but when it comes to regrets, the Fingallians man has very few as he strives to make himself a better footballer (and golfer) every day.

  • Handicap:  14
  • Club(s): Hollystown and Roganstown

1 How's your golf?

It's okay. But I'd say I am an erratic 14. I just don't play enough to have the consistency. I'd be confident that when I retire from GAA will be able to play a little more often and get down lower than 14.

2 Where do you play?

I've been a member in Hollystown for a number of years but Roganstown is closer to home and I've joined there now.

3 How did you get started in the game?

My dad was the organiser of the Junior Committee at Swords Open Golf so I would have been a juvenile member there from the age of 11 or 12, playing every Saturday morning.

4 Have you any golfing ambitions?

I wouldn't say I have a lifelong ambition to get down to single figures or anything like that, but I'd be keen to improve. I'd certainly like to get down a little bit lower.

5 Driver or putter?

My driver is definitely stronger. I really need to get down and do a bit of work on my short game.

6 Have you a favourite course?

There are so many, it's really hard to choose one. So much depends on the weather. I remember playing Concra Wood in Monaghan on a really nice, sunny day and it just made for a really memorable day on a great course. That adds to it. The scenery was phenomenal there.

7 Links or parkland?

We are blessed to have so great courses in Ireland and I've played Doonbeg, which is stunning. But I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of links golf, simply because I am not competent enough at golf to play it. I love the beauty of the links courses, but I have a higher ball flight, so I find it harder to keep the ball down.

8 What about a favourite par-three?

There is a lovely hole at Powerscourt, the 16th on the East Course. It's not a long hole, just the tee box, a lake to carry and the green. It's just picturesque and a great example of some of the great holes we have in this country.

9 Do you have sporting heroes?

I was always a big admirer of Tiger Woods. People talk about Seve or Tom Watson, but you don't really appreciate these players unless you see them in their prime.  For me, Tiger Woods was superb.

10 What did you admire about him?

He brought so many people into the game, and he was just so different and brilliant. He was at a different level. And he had that charisma. And Rory McIlroy has it now, so it's great that we have an Irish person up there. But for me growing up, Tiger Woods was the biggest hero I had in golf.

11 Who did you look up to in your own game?

I'm lucky that Kieran Duff was a club man of mine at Fingallians, representing Dublin in the 80s and winning a couple of All-Stars and an All-Ireland. It was great to have someone like that in your club. He brought me into the Dublin senior team with Pilar Caffrey. Having that kind of guy to lean on was great. As a player, he was the real deal.

12 Are you very self-critical when it comes to your own game?

There are loads of things I'd like to improve. I am continuously trying to improve my skills. It's all marginal stuff — improving your shooting, improving your fitness, your positional play and your tactical sense.

13 What aspect needs the most work?

Nothing jumps out in particular but you are trying to improve all the time in gaelic football, whether it is your skills, your fitness or your tactical sense. Get those three things right and you will be there.

14 Who is the Tiger Woods of gaelic football?

For me it's Stephen Cluxton. He has been an amazing leader of our team for a long time. He has made his position his own and been the best ever in that position. To do that, it's incomparable.

15 Is he under-rated for his skill?

If he were to start the game from scratch tomorrow, he could play outfield if he wanted. He has all the skills.

16 Name your dream fourball?

I'd have to pick Tiger Woods to partner me and maybe a Manchester United player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a bit of craic, and then an actor... Leonardo di Caprio. If you can pick three superstars, that's not a bad trio.

17 If I gave you a mulligan in your GAA career, is there something you'd like to have a go at again?

I'd probably pick the Donegal game in 2014. We were in control of the game at the start, went four points up and let them come back into it. I'd take that one back.

18 Are there things you'd like to change about yourself?

I always say that you just have to be the best "you" that you can be and not try to be anybody else. If at the end of my career I can look back and say, 'You know what, I was the best me', I'll be happy. I continue to try to improve in certain areas such as my positional play, my work rate or my tackle technique.

This feature first appeared in the Irish Independent's weekly Tee to Green golf supplement on 4 May 2017