Spotlight takes toll on players: Donaghy
AFTER Aidan O'Mahony became the latest Kerry footballer to opt out of the county's football squad, Kingdom full-forward Kieran Donaghy has admitted that the pressures facing modern-day players is rising all the time.
Rathmore man O'Mahony stepped away from the senior squad for "personal reasons", joining the retired pair of Darragh O Se and Diarmuid Murphy along with Tommy Walsh and Tadhg Kennelly -- who now ply their trade in the AFL -- on the list as those unavailable to Jack O'Connor since last year's All-Ireland final. And Donaghy agrees that being in the spotlight can take its toll.
"That's the way it has gone in the last number of years," said the three- time All-Ireland winner. "It is tough for any inter-county player with the pressure that's on you not only to play, but to get to work and do your job and all the attention that comes your way for being an inter-county footballer.
"It has gotten much harder over the last number of years. But the guys that have made those decisions have made them for the right reasons in their minds.
"It's tough in stages. Last year after the Sligo game, scraping a win by a point, you'd have fellas coming up to you on the street and saying, 'You're useless this year, what's wrong with ye?'.
"And this kind of craic happens 10 times a day when I walk from the bank down to where I eat my dinner and then another 10 times on the way back. Then I have the boss giving out to me for being late back to work!
"That is definitely the tough side of it, everybody has an opinion -- in Kerry anyway. I don't know about other places. They have no trouble coming up to you and telling you about it and you have no choice but to listen to them because they are going to say it whether you listen to them or not."
O'Connor used 36 players over the course of the Kingdom's National League campaign and Austin Stacks man Donaghy is confident the Kerry manager has unearthed some new talent despite the fact that one of the county's rising stars, Kerins O'Rahillys Barry John Walsh, is no longer a part of the squad.
"It's tough to lose as many top-class players as we did over the winter and to lose another one now has been very hard because Aidan (O'Mahony) has been a rock for us and a great servant to the Kerry football," Donaghy said.
"He'll be a huge loss along with the rest of them, but you have to play the cards you are dealt. We've got a good few young fellas coming through and some of the fellas who have been on the panel in the last few years might get a chance now.
"We have no choice but to try and replace them because there are going to be jerseys there and there has to be fellas in them come the championship. They are huge players that are gone.
"I don't know if anyone can come in and replace Darragh O Se and do what Darragh O Se has done for Kerry for the last six or seven years. I'm sure we can find fellas who are gonna come in and give it a go, I suppose that is all you can ask for these days."