Marc Ó Sé: We're in with a great chance but we will need luck
Kerry great Marc Ó Sé faces a race against time if he is to see any league action in his 14th season with the Kingdom.
The long-serving An Ghaeltacht clubman injured his coccyx bone in October when falling on concrete stairs and the complicated nature of the injury and rehabilitation means he could sit out much of the spring.
"It's slowly but surely improving but I'm still well off playing football yet," Ó Sé said, at the launch of the annual PhoneWatch Comórtas Peile Páidí Ó Sé, which takes place from February 20-22.
"I'm back jogging. To be fair, it is responding well but it's still slow. There is a crack in the bone basically.
"Usually for a bone fracture to heal it takes about two months.
"This is four months out, the difference with this is that it's on your backside. You are sitting the whole time, you are driving the car, you are sitting a lot so it takes longer for it to heal as a result.
"I'd be hoping to be back to get some National League time, but this is a very rare kind of an injury for a footballer so it is hard to say how it is coming along and hard to say when I'll actually be back."
What is certain is that the 34-year-old will make himself available once again this year after another All-Ireland-winning campaign.
2014 saw a number of personal milestones for Ó Sé. He equalled his brother Tomás's haul of five All-Ireland medals while the final win over Donegal last September was his 80th championship appearance for the county, one behind Darragh.
It wasn't all positive, however, as the youngest of the three siblings was also dropped for the first time since establishing himself as a regular with Kerry.
Kingdom boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice left him on the bench for the All-Ireland semi-final replay with Mayo in the Gaelic Grounds.
And though he recovered his place for the All-Ireland final, replacing Shane Enright after 22 minutes in the Limerick semi-final, he admits to considering retirement around that time.
"When it happened you'd be thinking (about retiring) alright.
"But I've always said I'd be honest with myself. And believe it or not I would be my own worst critic and I'd know if I was not myself.
"And certainly I wasn't myself at that time. I also think I wasn't doing anything overly poor but at the same time I wasn't driving out with the ball like I used to and I wasn't my usual confident self so from that point of view I can see why I was dropped.
"But I don't think I could feel my body going back in any way so from that point of view, I think it's in my interest to keep going.
"Initially it's tough, you want to make a difference and be part of the group that takes to the field. So it was very tough and I found it hard to get my head around it.
"But you don't be long getting yourself in place and saying its for the good of the team and that there is an overall plan here.
"That's the way I put my mind to it. And as things transpired I was very lucky in that I got on after 20 minutes so it worked out great for me and it worked out great for the team. I was lucky I have to say. I always say that to myself that I was lucky to get on so early."
Ó Sé turns 35 later this year, the same age that both Tomás and Darragh retired at but won't be a factor in any decision on his future he might make at the end of the season.
The body feels good, he says, and as long as that is the case, he'll play on.
Another medal would see the Ó Sé brothers equal the haul of the Spillanes who won 17 medals between them through Pat (eight), Mick (six) and Tom (three).
And Kerry, he insists, will be right in the shake-up once more. "I think we have a great chance. Dublin have a great chance, Donegal, Galway are going to make inroads this year, Armagh will, but I'd put ourselves up there with the rest in having a great chance.
"You don't know what's going to happen, some years there's only a kick of a ball between teams.
"Last year the semi-final could have gone either way, Mayo could have won. The year before the Dublin-Kerry semi-final, that kick-out from (Stephen) Cluxton could have gone either way. wSometimes you need a bit of luck but I think we're in a good position.
"Tommy (Walsh) and the Gooch (Colm Cooper) are coming back in, younger fellas coming through, we're in a good position. I can't say we're going to win the All-Ireland but we have a good chance."