Wednesday 19 December 2018

Fitzgerald wouldn't change a thing about life as a county player

Dr Crokes defender Fionn Fitzgerald. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Dr Crokes defender Fionn Fitzgerald. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Kerry captain Fionn Fitzgerald won't be part of the Kingdom squad that takes on Donegal this weekend.

The Dr Crokes defender is one of 19 players that Eamonn Fitzmaurice is currently planning without.The reason for Fitzgerald's absence is simple. Between club and county commitments, he's essentially been playing football non-stop for two years.

"Basically, I haven't got a break for two years," he explained. "I had a very long campaign between Dr Crokes and Kerry and I would say five days is all I had off in two years so a rest is good. "I had a bit of a hip issue from no rest really so hopefully I will be back for the second or third game anyway so I just won't be back for Donegal," Fitzgerald added.

"My very first night back training was (January 15) because I had to take a break for a few weeks to give the body a chance."

He's not complaining, however. Fitzgerald, a lecturer in Health and Leisure in IT Tralee, is aware of the debate around the sacrifices inter-county players must make but he's more than happy to make them.

"The bar is raised every year. Is it different to when I came in in 2012, 100pc. Is it different to 2013, '14 and '15, of course. Some of the lads that have come in are only realising over the last couple of weeks what is involved and what you've to put into it. Is it the old-style football of catch and kick? Probably not.

"The style of football has evolved. It is more tactical. There are more constraints. I know no different. I'm not that old so I can't compare completely. The game has changed. And what goes into it has changed.

"Does it leave you lacking in time in other parts of your life? It does, absolutely. Would I change it? Not a bit.

"You have to be disciplined in your life. Most inter-county players would be. Sometimes, people are just saying the discipline side of it gets a little wearing. Having a family and all that comes into it.

"It doesn't suit every personality. Just because you are an unbelievable talent doesn't mean you fit the mould of an inter-county player.

"In Kerry, we are lucky that we are knocking on the door most years.

"It is the guys like Mark Breheny who retired from Sligo last year, these are the guys I would respect an awful lot. He played for 17 years, that is commitment. That's some going."


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Irish Independent

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