Sunday 26 January 2020

I considered retiring after double injury – Donaghy

Kerry star Kieran Donaghy
Kerry star Kieran Donaghy

Cliona Foley

KIERAN Donaghy is still desperate to play some part, no matter how small, in Kerry's All-Ireland quarter-final against Galway tomorrow after admitting that it has been "the hardest year I ever put down".

The Austin Stacks veteran, who was injured and lost form last summer, is only just back to full fitness after missing the Allianz League with a hip/groin problem and then dislocating his shoulder.

Donaghy's only contribution so far this season has been as a late substitute in the Kingdom's last two games. In today's Irish Independent, the 31-year-old reveals that he seriously contemplated retiring after suffering, for the second time this season, a serious injury.

"When you're starting for seven or eight years and then, all of a sudden, you're not it's tough, but you learn to deal with it," he said.

"As long as I feel I can help the team on the field of play, I'll hang around.

"When I was dropped before the Munster final last year, I realised I'm only looking after the jersey until the next fella takes it. Even Colm (Cooper) will be gone in a couple of years and someone else will have to fill it for him," he said.

Donaghy reveals that his legendary forward partner – out for all of 2014 due to a torn cruciate – is still managing to inspire his team-mates.

"He pops the head in every now and again to keep an eye on us and, when he does, training intensifies a bit. Fellas know he's casting a brow down and always up their game when he's around.

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"We know what Colm has done for Kerry, and what he means to Kerry people, but we also all know we're just filling jerseys and will have to pass them on eventually," he added.

Kerry have made the quarter-finals every year since the 'back door' was introduced (2001) and only lost two; to Down in 2010 and Donegal in 2012.

Tomorrow's game is a rematch of their memorable quarter-final clash with Galway in 2008, when there was such a downpour that the lights had to be turned on in Croke Park and the surrounding streets were badly flooded.

Irish Independent

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