Saturday 24 February 2018

Old head Young out to make the most of time with Kingdom

“It was just one of those moments,” Young recalls, ahead of tomorrow’s Munster SFC final clash with Tipperary in Killarney. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
“It was just one of those moments,” Young recalls, ahead of tomorrow’s Munster SFC final clash with Tipperary in Killarney. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

It might have sunk another man, or at the very least, haunted his winter.

But Killian Young can think of his slip late on in last year's All-Ireland final, just as the Dubs had given Kerry a sight on goal, and move on. It was what it was. It's done.

Had his feet not betrayed him he'd have been odds-on to goal and tie the game up with 66 minutes on the clock. And who knows what would have happened from there?

Instead, Dublin cleared and Alan Brogan started and finished a move that effectively sealed the All-Ireland title for the Dubs as well as his own fairytale ending.

All-Ireland finals swing on such quirks of fate.

"It was just one of those moments," Young recalls, ahead of tomorrow's Munster SFC final clash with Tipperary in Killarney.

"There were fellas slipping all day. It was just one of those things, they happen. I didn't even beat myself up over it - obviously maybe for the week afterwards it was very disappointing, but it doesn't cross my mind. It was just there and then.

"There were plenty of things that happened on the day. What would I change if the ball came to me again? What would I do differently? Would I slip again? Could it happen again? How do you slip? Did I turn too quickly to the left?

"It happens players. There were fellas slipping and sliding all day you know. I'm not going to beat myself up. Just continue on, these things happen over the life span of playing or whatever you're doing.

"The good and the bad - it all comes."

Hang around long enough those things will befall even the best. Young is in his 11th season with Kerry now and there have been more good times that bad. He's a former All-Ireland winning U-21 captain and Young Footballer of the Year.

And since making his debut in 2006, he has picked up four All-Ireland medals. Even in Kerry, that's a haul that carries clout.

He has no intention of stopping at that either, though that almost wasn't his call. Back in 2013, Kerry had a final in-house game in the build up to the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final with Dublin where Young broke his leg and dislocated his ankle.

It was serious enough that it could have ended his inter-county career. But he stuck doggedly to the task at hand. And bit by bit, he edged back.

The road back was arduous, requiring six days in the gym each week. He started at the very bottom. His first exercise was trying to balance on one leg. From there he graduated to attempting to stay upright with one eye closed.

It was all a far cry from the thunder of Championship. So far in fact, that he wondered if he'd ever get back.

"It could have been a very costly injury only for the work I put in on my own," he says.

"And you're so used to working in a team environment and there I was on my own for nine months, which gives you a completely different look at things."

Young opted to do most of the gym work in Tralee. It was easier for him but that wasn't the only reason. There, he was away from the rest of the squad and the disheartening, if well-meaning, enquiries as to how his rehab was coming on.

Read more: Fear of humiliation will focus Kerry minds

"I found it tough now on my own (in Tralee). But I found I could be sitting around watching and frustrating myself inside (with the Kerry squad) and seeing what I'm not doing.

"It can actually beat you up a bit because you're watching all the players in front of you developing, getting fitter, getting stronger. And you're just sitting there doing the very basic stuff.

"There was plates and screws put in there, it was one of those things 'if I don't get this right, it could stop for me now'. So I had to put in a pile of work that way."

He was back in with Kerry by the following April but with a new outlook on football and its place in the world. Injury taught him to enjoy it a little bit more.

"I said to myself 'you know (football) might stop right now'. I'm kind of taking it one year at a time and enjoying it a lot more and being a lot more relaxed about it in a good way," he says.

"I just really loving what I'm doing and making the most of every chance I have inside in training, be it a game or what not. So really, I'm enjoying it.

"I'm 29, in my 11th season with Kerry so I can't be around forever. I'm just making the most of what I have at the moment."

Irish Independent

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