Sunday 20 October 2019

White raring to go for league debut

Dr Crokes star targets quick Kingdom return after St Patrick's Day showdown

This will be Gavin White's fourth season with Kerry yet the Dr Crokes man is yet to play a minute of league action. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
This will be Gavin White's fourth season with Kerry yet the Dr Crokes man is yet to play a minute of league action. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

A Munster champion and an All-Star nominee, Gavin White's next goal when it comes to Kerry is to taste league football.

It seems like he is going about his Kerry career backwards but White's first game for Kerry came last summer when he was one of seven making championship debuts for the Kingdom in the Munster SFC clash with Clare in Fitzgerald Stadium.

This will be his fourth season around the Kerry panel but he's never played a minute in the league.

"When I first came in (in 2016), Eamonn (Fitzmaurice) called me in and I was doing my Leaving Cert so I missed the National League," recalled the 21-year-old.

"I was called in for the summer and was kind of feeling my way around and getting some experience.

"The following year, 2017, we were on a similar run with the club as at the moment and we got to Paddy's Day.

"I missed the whole National League again so it was obviously hard for a new player to break on to the panel for the championships after that so I was there again tipping around for the summer.


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"I missed the National League again last year through injury but thankfully I made a stamp and got my championship debut against Clare last year in 'the Stadium'."

Starting White that day represented a risk for Fitzmaurice seeing as that Clare game was a first taste of action of any sort since the previous December, when Crokes were beaten in the Munster club final.

"It was my first real football game since Nemo before the Christmas," he said.

"I had played bits of football up until then but from a competitive point of view that was my first.

"There was pressure on me. There will be pressure any time you play but when it is your debut there will be more.

"There was pressure on Eamonn as well. There were question marks at the time as to why I was thrown in with so little senior football in me. Thankfully I did all right and they were happy enough with my performances."

White nailed down his spot for the rest of the summer but could do nothing as Kerry failed to make it out of the 'Super 8s'. However, a desire to play league football, along with Kerry's strong start to the season, means he is eager to get back into the county set-up.

Currently on the hunt for a second AIB All-Ireland club SFC title success with Dr Crokes on St Patrick's Day, he doesn't plan on taking much time off afterwards no matter how their clash with Corofin pans out.

"That's the reason I'm looking forward to it after Patrick's Day. I want to play league football.

"It is a different type of football to championship so we're hoping that Paddy's Day goes well and, who knows, we might be out the following week against Roscommon.

"That's down to Peter (Keane) and the management but I'm more than willing to go back in.

"From our own point of view, we're chomping at the bit to go back in at the soonest possible point."

Kerry look set to contest a league final and it's likely that Dublin will be there waiting for them. Keane's men already drew blood against their great rivals in Tralee.

"I think at the end of the day, both teams know it was only February, there's a lot more to be played for for the rest of the year.

"Both teams were missing a number of players so they know that it might be scratching the surface.

"I think there's more improvement to be done by both teams over the next couple of months.

"We'd be more concentrating on ourselves other than anybody else. But we want to be playing the best of the best, everyone in Division 1 is the best so I don't think it would really matter who we were playing.

"We'd be looking forward to whoever comes down the line if we are in the league final.

"But obviously from a spectacle point of view, people would like Kerry-Dublin.

"Hopefully we can get over the next game or two to cement that."

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