AFTER 16 seasons at the heart of the Kildare midfield, Dermot Earley looks set to call time on his inter-county career.
The former All Star has endured two years ravaged by knee and back problems and has admitted that his days in the Lilywhite jersey are coming to an end.
A dynamic midfielder, Earley was just 20 years of age when playing a key role in helping the Lilies end their 42-year Leinster SFC famine in 1998.
Following an intense winter training programme, the Sarsfields powerhouse (34) was due to make his latest comeback against Dublin in the league, but after suffering a back spasm during the warm-up, he underwent another two operations in a bid to sort out the problem.
"We'll see how the next couple of weeks go, but I've had a very frustrating last couple of years, they haven't gone the way I'd have liked," Earley explained.
"Every player would like to finish on their own terms and finish on the playing field, that's what we want to do. But I just haven't had the run I've wanted to have in the last couple of years. Sometimes, you know, the body tells you things ... I think your health is your wealth.
"Look, I'm still only in the recovery mode at the moment, I'll see how the next couple of weeks go. I'll probably announce something soon enough, but it's a big decision and you just want to be right and make sure, be 100pc."
Earley revealed the back injury left him struggling to walk for a number of weeks.
"I was at a stage where I couldn't straighten and then after the first surgery, I still had pain walking. So I was concerned and I spent a week not moving on the couch. I couldn't move and I was fairly worried.
"We all love sport, we put ourselves out there, but at the end of the day, you have to be able to walk properly. Thankfully, that was sorted and I'm fine now. But it did give me a bit of a scare."