Sunday 17 December 2017

Galvin on the brink

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

DON'T quit now." That was the message to Paul Galvin last night from former Kerry legend Jack O'Shea as fears started to grow over the controversial All Star's inter-county future.

There are renewed concerns in the Kingdom that Galvin could be contemplating walking away from the game after the latest suspension handed down to him.

Galvin's eight-week suspension for his red card against Cork will force him out of Kerry's next four games -- a bad blow to Jack O'Connor's All-Ireland champions as they bid to recover from their opening league defeats to Dublin and the Rebels.

But the frustration of a third suspension in successive years is weighing heavily on the current Footballer of the Year.

Galvin had to be coaxed out of quitting by O'Connor after his red card against Cork in the Munster semi-final replay at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, where he was sent off with Noel O'Leary.

The Kerry boss later met with the Finuge clubman to discuss the situation, but O'Connor convinced Galvin of his worth to the team and the player bounced back to play a hugely important part in the march to Sam Maguire success.

In the wake of the latest suspension, legendary midfielder O'Shea believes all the fall-out will "test Paul's mettle" and that walking away at this point "has to be crossing his mind".

"It's clear he's a marked man and will be looking over his shoulder all the time," said O'Shea, whom Galvin credited with helping him through his three-month suspension, pared down from an original six months, in 2008.

"I felt looking at the TV that night that the decision was harsh. He will be asking himself whether it's all worth it but football means too much for Paul to walk away like that. The Kerry jersey means too much. When he digests this latest blow I don't believe he will," said the seven-times All-Ireland SFC winner.

"He's a strong character, it's another difficult time for him. I wouldn't agree with everything he does on a pitch and I'd say that to him but that's the type of players he is. He plays on the edge. Take that away and you've nothing."

The delay in delivering a judgment to Kerry and Cork four days after the players had their hearing was yesterday defended by GAA president Christy Cooney, who said the Central Hearings Committee were thorough in their approach to all matters.

Kerry believed they had sufficient video evidence to show that Galvin did not strike with the hand, as he was reported for. Kerry chairman Jerome Conway has ruled out an appeal because he believes procedures were carried out correctly.

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