Monday 19 March 2018

O'Donoghue will play full role - Sheehy

Sheehy: "He played with Legion and he was grand." Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

James O'Donoghue will play a full part in all of Kerry's Championship campaign, Kingdom selector Mikey Sheehy confirmed yesterday after O'Donoghue came through a game with his club Legion over the weekend.

Sheehy said rumours that he had suffered a recurrence of a shoulder injury were unfounded after he missed the last four league matches including the final against Dublin.

The 2014 "Footballer of the Year" has twice had surgery on his shoulders, limiting his capacity to build on that landmark year for him.

After a bright start to the championship his progress has been stalled again with a calf injury.

"James is fine," reported Sheehy. "He played with Legion and he was grand. There was rumours went around that it James's shoulder and all that again but he actually pulled his calf the Sunday before we played Dublin in that League game in Tralee, when we were in training in Killarney," said the eight-time All-Ireland winner.

"It wasn't a bad pull but it was the one that put him out for three or four weeks. Other than that he's fine."

Sheehy also confirmed that Shane Enright and Killian Young will both make a full recovery in time for their June 11 Munster semi-final against Clare or Limerick from injuries they carried at the end of the league.

Enright played a club game at the weekend but Young's groin looks set to take longer to heal.

Sheehy has acknowledged the importance of this Kerry team finally beating Dublin in a significant Croke Park match after so many reversals in big championship and league games since 2011.

"The thing is when you win, and in particular when you beat a team like Dublin, there's a spring in the step in training and, definitely, you could see that the level is gone up a bit," he said.

"Again, I suppose the most satisfying thing for us outside of winning the game was the new lads that we have.

"The likes of Ronan Shanahan, Jack Barry, Jack Savage and Gavin Crowley are good young lads and then we have, since Kerry were beaten by Galway in the U-21 semi-final, four or five of those lads in as well. So that all increases confidence and training is going well."

"Since we took over we hadn't beaten them at all bar in the League game here in Killarney. It was a huge game for us to win. It was probably more important for us than Dublin," he admitted.

"Obviously Jim Gavin wouldn't have been happy to lose the game but they're the benchmark, they're still the team to beat and I'm sure they'll have a major say in the Championship this year."

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