KIERAN DONAGHY WILL wait to see how is body holds up after a winter of basketball before making a decision on whether to extend his inter-county career into 2017.
As is always the case at this time of year, the Kerry full-forward’s future has been the subject of much speculation, particularly after the recent retirement of team-mate Marc Ó Sé.
Donaghy, 33, has been a mainstay of Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s forward line in recent seasons and featured 11 times for the Kingdom during their league and championship campaigns in 2016.
Speaking to The42 in our Dublin office yesterday, the four-time All Ireland winner admitted that he doesn’t quite know if it’s time to call it a day or play on for a 12th year; a lot will depend on how he feels physically and mentally over the coming months.
“I’m definitely coming to the end of my career anyway, whether it’s over or not I just don’t know,” he said.
“It’s a kind of question at this stage that I’d love to know the answer to because I’ve got asked it so much in the last few weeks. The reality of the situation is that I have to wait, play a bit of basketball through the winter and see how the body holds up.”
Donaghy is currently playing for Tralee Warriors in the Irish National Super League, the top tier of men’s basketball in Ireland.
The season runs from September to mid-March and it is only then when Donaghy will inform Fitzmaurice and the Kerry management of his decision.
Donaghy was won four All-Irelands during his career.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
“If the body holds up, then I’ve to go to my family and my job in PST Sports. I told them last year this was it, I told my family it would be the last time I would put them through the ringer of hearing abuse in the stands about me and I told my job.
“We’re doing AstroTurf pitches in the UK and Ireland so I’m over and back so I told them less of the travelling and kind of concentrate on football so that’s another talk I’m going to have.
“If it comes to the case of as I’m playing the basketball this year and if I notice little tightening or stiffening of the body and I feel I’m just not able for it, it makes it a lot easier a decision then and I’ll make that when the time comes, when that is I don’t know.
“The body could blow up in two or three months and I could say ‘you know what, this isn’t actually right’ but for now, it’s good.
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“I played eleven games in a row last year, I put in an unbelievable shift for my county, it wasn’t enough in the end but back at the basketball now and I’ll see where that takes me.”
After a frustrating couple of years with injury, 2016 was a good one for Donaghy as he returned to peak form and enjoyed an extended period in the starting XV until Kerry were dumped out at the semi-final stage by Dublin.
Whether or not he’s involved going forward, the Austin Stacks man believes Kerry football is in good health for the years to come.
Donaghy and Kerry experienced disappointment in 2016.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
“Yeah absolutely,” he says, when asked if the Kingdom were in good stead. “I think we’re challenging now, we’ve challenged the last few years. We have an All-Ireland in 2014 and we were beaten in finals in 2015 and 2011 and beaten in semi-finals in ’13 and ’16.
“I’ve been always lucky enough to be knocking on the door when I’ve been in a Kerry jersey. We’ve always been there or there abouts, we’ve won All-Irelands, we’ve lost All-Irelands but we’ve always come back.
“That’s the trademark of being from Kerry. Even if you win an All-Ireland you still have to come back, and when you lose an All-Ireland you still have to come back and that’s just the pressure of wearing the jersey.
“We’ve three minors back-to-back but that doesn’t really say anything really unless they transfer that into putting their mind into being senior players because it’s a different kettle of fish altogether.
“You’d be hopeful that some of those talented minors get the bit between their teeth and don’t settle on having a minor All-Ireland and sitting in a pub in 20 years telling fellas about it.
“You want to go on and have your career at senior level and let the old fellas in the pub tell you about how great you were and that should be the goal for all those minors and I hope it is.”
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