Former Dublin panellist Guckian open to switching allegiances to Leitrim

CHRIS GUCKIAN PLAYED a couple of league campaigns with Dublin under Jim Gavin, and has a Division 1 medal at home for his efforts, although he failed to make the championship panel either year.

Still, that might not be the end of his inter-county career if Leitrim come calling over the winter.

His father, Sean, hails from the county and he turned down an approach by ex-Leitrim boss Brendan Guckian (no relation) in the past to focus on his role as St Judes captain.

His uncle Paddy and cousin Jimmy both represented the Connacht county and Guckian hasn’t ruled out a switch in the future.

Newly appointed Leitrim manager Terry Hyland will likely sound the defender out over his availability ahead of the 2019 season, but for now he’s fully focused on bringing the Dublin SFC crown back to Judes.

“I had two league campaigns with Dublin where I probably didn’t show what I felt I could have,” the 30-year-old said. “I’m at that age now where it’s gone, I suppose.

“Different Leitrim managers have rung me over the years. I met Benny Guckian and had a chat with him — and John O’Mahony. It’s something I did consider.

“Why didn’t I do it? There was travel, I thought Dublin might still be on the radar but, more importantly, I wanted to focus on the club. But I wouldn’t write it off.

“I’ll see if I get a phone call. I know my uncles and Dad would be very proud. But I’ll focus on Jude’s for the time being.”

Guckian during an O’Byrne Cup game with Dublin in 2014.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

There’s a hint of frustration as he reflects on his time on the Dublin panel, where he worked under Pillar Caffrey, Pat Gilroy and Gavin at one stage or another. 

“I really enjoyed my time. I just…is it a source of regret? Yeah. I still feel, looking at the lads, that I’d love to be there.

“I know from when I was there, and then going to the championship matches – obviously I’d be very close to Kev (Kevin McManamon), a huge supporter of Kev, I liked to be in that bracket for that time.

“It’s some set-up. It was great to be involved. I know my football came on no end, I just probably didn’t make the breakthrough I would have loved to make.

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“I didn’t probably get game time that I would have liked. That was probably just down to training, I didn’t put the right foot forward in terms of getting picked.

“But again, the competition was huge. The half-back line was probably the most competitive and that’s where I see myself, but no big regrets. I tried my best.”

Chris Guckian during the semi-final win over St Vincent’s.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Judes face Kilmacud Crokes in the Dublin decider, having already taken out heavyweights St Vincent’s and Ballymun Kickhams. They’ve been frequent visitors to the semi-final stage but it’s their first Dublin final in nine years.

“To reach this final, finally, is breaking through the glass ceiling for us,” said Guckian.

“It was great to just get over the line and get that monkey off our backs after losing out in semi-finals. There’s a bigger challenge now ahead.

“Obviously we’ve beat Ballymun, beat Vincents and now for me probably one of the best team in Dublin, obviously Crokes.

“Look, they are just next on the list. This year we have got the big draws – if we do it, we’ll be doing it the hard way.

“We’ve been a top six team, just breaking that barrier was huge. But we’ve a bigger one next Monday.”

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