Monday 11 December 2017

Kingdom's James O'Donoghue '50-50' for more surgery on shoulder

Kerry's James O'Donoghue in his Legion colours at the launch of the AIB club championship's #TheToughest campaign
Kerry's James O'Donoghue in his Legion colours at the launch of the AIB club championship's #TheToughest campaign
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Kerry star James O'Donoghue has admitted he could need another operation on his troublesome shoulder - but only after Killarney Legion's run in the county championship comes to an end.

The 2014 Footballer of the Year has been in excellent form for his club, hitting a hat-trick against Kerins O'Rahillys last time out as they moved into the last four. Legion now take on Rathmore in the Kerry SFC semi-final this Sunday.

However, he has been forced to sit out several training sessions and is going through a consistent rehab programme to help him stay fit enough to play. He also revealed that he has to strap his shoulder for every game and admitted another operation is inevitable at some stage in the future.

"Obviously I was hoping I'd have no more issues after the operation last year but that didn't go to plan," he said, at the launch of the AIB club championships.

"I think I can manage it fine. Whether I get another surgery or not I don't know. I'm sick of getting surgery but if it is the only way forward I'll have to do it but at the moment I haven't decided.


"It depends on how I get on with the club. Hopefully we can keep that run going and avoid surgery but I don't know."

Another operation would likely keep him out of action for at least six months, meaning he'd be unlikely to see any league action if he opted to go down that route.

And he admits the medical advice he has received has left him unsure of what is the best option to fix a problem that has troubled him since his minor days.

"Two answers have come up. Can you mind it and not get surgery or do you just bite the bullet and get it again?

"The final act for me with the shoulder will be surgery again whether it is this year or not. So do I get it this year or leave it off? I don't know, it depends on how I go in the next couple of weeks."

O'Donoghue opted to go under the knife last year after Legion's interest in the championship had come to an end and this time around he's reluctant to consider his next step until their run is over.

"In fairness I didn't do the club any favours last year because I decided to get the operation," he recalled.

"We had already lost in the county championship so we couldn't have gone any further. But we were still in a couple of other competitions but I said, 'Look lads, I'm going to get the surgery' and obviously there were a few lads disappointed I didn't play on but I had to do that for myself.

"So maybe this year I kind of owe it back to the club to battle on.

"We could be out of championship on Sunday and I won't owe them anything then... I won't say I owe them but would love for the Legion to do something special this year, especially after disappointment of the summer.

"We are a tiny club, we won the (intermediate) in 2005 before that, I don't know, we have barely won anything at all so to have a chance to win a county championship is a huge thing for us.

"Eamonn (Fitzmaurice) obviously wants me to do whatever is best for my health. As I said, if there's any question that I have to get it, I'll do it. I just need to be pushed in a direction. At the moment, it's kind of 50-50 so there's nothing either way, we'll see how it pans out. To be honest, the decision might be taken for me in the next few weeks."

The Kerry backroom team has seen a significant overhaul already in the wake of their All-Ireland final defeat with Cian O'Neill moving on to take charge of Kildare and Liam Hassett joining the Kingdom management team.

"I don't know Liam Hassett personally but I have heard that he is excellent. Tough man. Couple of changes is going to be important for the group to freshen things up.

"Ultimately, it comes down to if ain't broke, don't fix it but we didn't change anything this year, and Cian O'Neill has gone to Kildare and that is going to be massive for him. Liam Hassett is in, Padraig Corcoran is coach, so there are a few changes there that are exciting."

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