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From child prodigy to poster child for burn-out

It was probably a case too much too soon for Noel Kennelly, but he still realises the career he had

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Noel Kennelly in action for Kerry against Dublin in Semple Stadium in 2001. Photo by Damien Eagers / Sportsfile

Noel Kennelly in action for Kerry against Dublin in Semple Stadium in 2001. Photo by Damien Eagers / Sportsfile

Noel Kennelly in action for Kerry against Dublin in Semple Stadium in 2001. Photo by Damien Eagers / Sportsfile

Noel Kennelly was the ultimate child prodigy. On the Listowel Emmets senior team at 15 years of age. A Kerry minor for two years. A Kerry under-21 for a phenomenal four campaigns, including All-Ireland glory in 1998. Winning his first All-Ireland senior medal in 2000 aged just 20.

For the Listowel Emmets man twenty years ago, the footballing world was his oyster. But, in a salutary lesson for any up and coming sporting talents today, not withstanding the massive improvements in player welfare and medical science, there is always that danger of being pushed to the well too often with such a young and still developing body.

Kennelly knows all about the highs of glory days in Croke Park wearing the green and gold jersey, but he is also fully aware of the injury problems that bedevilled his career, eventually culminating in an early conclusion to his inter-county life with Kerry when he was only 25.