Dublin may have to start the defence of their All-Ireland crown without Jack McCaffrey, as the Footballer of the Year is reported to be heading abroad for work.

According to The Herald McCaffrey, a medical student at UCD, may not be around for, at the least, for the start of the summer.

Jim Gavin's men begin their championship with a Leinster SFC quarter-final against Laois or Wicklow, hunting a sixth provincial crown in a row and aiming to become the first side since Kerry in 2007 to lift back-to-back All-Irelands.

The loss of McCaffrey would, even for a county with such strength in depth, threaten those ambitions.

At the turn of the year two-time All Star full-back Rory O'Carroll confirmed he will not be part of the panel this season, as he made the move to New Zealand for work reasons.

"We’ve always said to players it’s important to get the life balance, between family, their profession, and their sport," Gavin said of O'Carroll's departure.

"We will miss him, but we certainly wish him the best, and he goes with the sun on his back."