Earley insists he can go full 70 for Lilies

Frank Roche

DERMOT EARLEY believes he can still deliver a 70-minute performance for Kildare this summer -- but admits that decision can only be made by Kieran McGeeney's management team.

The two-time All Star hasn't started a competitive game for the Lilywhites since 2010 but, having battled back from a career-threatening recurrence of his cruciate injury, he is now pushing for championship inclusion.

As matters stand, Earley is more likely to be used as an impact sub when Kildare open their Leinster SFC campaign against Offaly on June 17. However, asked if he believed he was fit for 70 minutes against the Faithful, he replied: "I'd like to think that, but it's up to management where to deploy me if they want to deploy me. I think I'll be ready, yeah."

Earley made several cameo appearances towards the end of Kildare's successful NFL Division Two campaign before making his starting comeback for the Lilywhite juniors against Louth recently. He will remain eligible for the juniors until when or if he features for the seniors this summer. "It would have been my first real competitive game for two years," the 33-year-old said of the Louth outing.


"There was times when I was heaving and it was good to get through it. We're still in it and that's the main thing. The junior team are Leinster champions and All-Ireland finalists, and they want to go further. If I can help out and it improves me along the way, then I'm more than happy to."

Earley followed this up with another start for his club last Friday, when Sarsfields lost their Kildare SFC opener to Naas. He admitted that his troublesome knee is still on his "mind a lot" prior to games, but that "after the first hit or ball, it's okay".

LIMERICK (SH v Tipp): N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; W McNamara, D O'Grady, G O'Mahony; J Ryan, P Browne; D Breen, C Allis, S Dowling; G Mulcahy, K Downes, S Tobin.

MONAGHAN (SF v Antrim): M Keogh; D Morgan, V Corey, C Walshe; K O'Connell, D Mone, K Duffy; P Dooney, D Clerkin; M McKenna, S Gollogly, J Turley; C McGuinness, P Finlay, C McManus.

ANTRIM (SF v Monaghan): C Kerr; A Healey, R Johnston, K O'Boyle; T Scullion, J Crozier, J Loughery; M McCann, A Gallagher; C Murray, M Sweeney, M McAleese; P Cunningham, M Magill, T McCann.