REPAIRING an ankle that has caused him problems for nearly 50 years is Mick O'Dwyer's first priority after stepping down as Clare boss.
However, he has not ruled out a return to management at some stage despite celebrating his 77th birthday last month.
"Never say never is my motto. I'm certainly not going to make any announcement that I'm quitting for good or anything like that. Who knows what the future holds?" he said.
He will be consulting with his medical advisers this week to decide when to have an ankle operation that he repeatedly put off over the years. "The time never seemed to be right for the operation but I have to now because it's killing me when I'm walking. It's an old war wound that goes back nearly 50 years," he said.
He broke his ankle in January 1964 but came back too soon and broke his fibula some months later. Always impatient to play, even while carrying an injury, the ankle continued to bother him throughout a career which lasted until he was nearly 50 years old.
"I probably played too long but I loved it so much I didn't want to let go. I've known for years that I'd need an operation on the ankle but there was always a reason to put it off.
His fifth managerial term ended last Saturday after just one season with Clare which, he says, was always the plan.
"I said I'd give it one season. As it happened, I was there for eight months. There's a lot to be done in Clare but there's good talent around to work on over the coming years. It was disappointing to lose to Laois the way we did (by 16 points) after playing so well for 25 minutes."