KILKENNY defender JJ Delaney is convinced that Cha Fitzpatrick will not be making any future transfer foray into the embrace of the Dublin hurlers.
Fitzpatrick's bombshell retirement, at the age of 26, was prompted by a dearth of game-time last summer as Kilkenny set about reclaiming the All-Ireland title they had lost the previous year to Tipperary.
His seemingly premature exit also sparked inevitable talk about a potential future move to Dublin, where he works and resides. But as Delaney pointed out: "He's wicked proud for Ballyhale. He's after giving great service for them; his family are involved and he'd have to change club to change county.
"He's a primary school teacher as well, so he'd be down in Kilkenny for the summer and he'd have to drive back up to Dublin. I can't see it happening."
While Fitzpatrick has voiced an intention to go travelling next summer, his former colleague stressed: "There's no one (in Kilkenny) shutting the door on Cha. He's after doing so much for us. I'd be very surprised to see him going anywhere else, but you don't know."
According to Delaney, his former colleague has made the "right decision for himself" but it's one he may live to regret, partially at least.
"Maybe this time of year he won't miss it," he surmised. "January and February he definitely won't miss it. But at the start of the championship he'll miss it -- no doubt about it, because it has been part of his life for so long."
Last summer, even though reportedly flying in training, Fitzpatrick was unable to win back his old midfield place, eclipsed in the mind of manager Brian Cody by stronger, faster, box-to-box players such as Michael Fennelly and Michael Rice.
"They were both All Stars at the end of the year, so what do you do? It's a good complaint for Brian to be leaving a lad like that on the line," mused Delaney.
But he added: "You'd pay money to go in and watch Cha hurl, he just makes it look so easy. If I was a forward, I'd love to play with Cha because he just puts it in your pocket ... there's always room for players like that, no doubt about it."