Monday 20 November 2017

New setback for Kerry as ace defender quits squad

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Aidan O'Mahony has become the latest star player to defect from the Kerry football squad.

After weeks of speculation it was finally confirmed that O'Mahony had severed ties with the All-Ireland champions.

The controversial figure has not resumed training with the Kingdom as they push towards the first hurdle in defence of their title against Tipperary on May 16.

Kerry officials insisted that the player had left the panel of his own accord and had not been dropped because of dissatisfaction with recent aspects of his preparation.

"Aidan O'Mahony has taken time out from the Kerry senior football panel for personal reasons," Kerry chairman Jerome Conway said last night.

O'Mahony missed the recent training trip to Portugal, but in the days after Kerry's final league game against Monaghan, it appeared that clear-the-air talks with Jack O'Connor had paved the way for his return.

However, confirmation of his departure limits the defensive options now available to O'Connor, despite Mike McCarthy's decision to return and put off retirement.

McCarthy would probably have assumed the No 6 jersey anyway, but O'Mahony would have provided defensive cover in a host of other positions.

Kerry's 2009 squad has been decimated by defections with Diarmuid Murphy and Darragh O Se retiring and Tadhg Kennelly and Tommy Walsh taking up AFL contracts.

O'Mahony played the majority of league matches at centre-back, but was sent off in the penultimate game against Tyrone for a clumsy challenge.

On his day, he was one of the most forceful centre-backs in the game, but over the last two years he has not nearly been as effective and has courted controversy.

He landed himself in hot water over a petulant dive in the All-Ireland semi -final against Cork in 2008, when Donnacha O'Connor slapped him gently in the face.

Later that year he became the first inter-county player to fail the anti-doping code when he tested adversely for the presence of salbutamol in a sample.

O'Mahony, an asthmatic, was later cleared, however, when it emerged that he had only used the inhaler containing salbutamol for medical purposes.

Meanwhile, Dublin have breathed a sigh of relief with news that ace forward Bernard Brogan will recover from a knee injury sustained in a club match in a couple of weeks.

Irish Independent

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