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Gooch is 'the best that ever played' - Casey

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Colm Cooper. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Colm Cooper. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Colm Cooper. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Colm Cooper "is the best that's ever played" and has at least another handful of years at the top with Kerry, according to Dr Crokes team-mate Daithí Casey.

Following some frustrating times after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury, as well as a fractured knee, in February 2014, and there are conflicting reports on whether 'Gooch' will return to the Kingdom fold in 2017.

No decision will be made until Dr Crokes' All-Ireland club SFC campaign is over, but Casey believes Cooper is "as good as ever" as the Killarney men set their sights on 2015 champions Corofin.

"I think everyone in the whole country wants to see him coming back playing. I would certainly love to see him back playing with Kerry for another few years. He's the best that's ever played in my view," Casey said.

"He's concentrating on Crokes and hopefully we'll get over Corofin and he can be making all the decisions he wants. I've been lucky enough to play with him now for ten years and I owe him a lot of medals.

"He's won us a lot of medals over the years and he's just a great guy and a great leader.

"Some of the stuff he does in training is still mind-blowing. He's still our go-to guy all the time. He's our leader in the dressing-room."

Casey, the AIB Munster club footballer of the year, also feels it's "not ideal for the neutral" that Crokes will face Corofin in their All-Ireland club semi-final at 4.0 in Limerick's Gaelic Grounds on February 11, followed three hours later by Kerry's opening National League fixture against Mayo in Tralee.

But he admits he wouldn't mind "if there's two people watching our game once we do the business".

Irish Independent