Kerry captain Kieran Donaghy packs in job to concentrate on football
Kieran Donaghy has become the latest GAA star to prioritise football over his career in the short term.
Donaghy has confirmed that he will devote his time exclusively to his sport and his family over the summer once he leaves Ulster Bank at the end of this week. He has agreed a severance package with the company after a long association.
The 31-year-old has no plans to re-enter the work force until later this year or early 2016, preferring instead to concentrate on Kerry's defence of their Munster and All-Ireland titles in the coming months.
Donaghy feels the time is right for him to give everything that he can to Kerry football in a year when he has been appointed the team captain, and sees the move bringing significant benefits.
Donaghy and his wife Hilary are expecting a child later this year which is also a major factor in the move.
The time-off will allow Donaghy more time to recover from training and matches and manage a body that has suffered collarbone, hip and groin injuries in recent years.
The Austin Stacks man follows the path taken recently by Donegal defender Karl Lacey who revealed he would not be actively seeking work until after their Championship interest was at an end.
Ironically, Lacey also worked for Ulster Bank before completing a master's degree in sports performance at UL last January.
Lacey's Donegal captain Michael Murphy put off a return to college in 2013 so that he could pour more of his time into football.
Lacey suggested the practice of players putting work on the back burner during the most intense months of the season was becoming more widespread in Gaelic games.
Less than six months ago, Donaghy's team-mate Darran O'Sullivan also left the Ulster Bank to take up a role as an athlete mentor with Sky Sports, saying the hours were more suitable. "I left Ulster Bank to concentrate on keeping the body right," he explained in January. "It just wasn't suiting me."