By Murt Murphy
Kerry’s 2018 championship ambitions have received a setback with the news that Dr Crokes midfielder Johnny Buckley has left the senior football panel.
The 2017 Kerry captain had been dogged by a knee injury earlier this year which meant he saw no league action and now he has informed Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice that he cannot give full commitment because of an increased workload in the family business Kerry Coaches this summer.
It is believed that Buckley informed the Kerry management last weekend.
Fitzmaurice is believed to have informed the 29-year-old that he can return to the squad whenever circumstances allow it.
Buckley, who made his senior championship debut in 2012, won an All Ireland u21 medal with Kerry in 2008 and an All Ireland senior medal in 2014.
He has five SFC medals with Crokes and a Sigerson Cup medal with UCC.
He has also played a pivotal role for his club Dr Crokes, captaining them to an All Ireland senior club win in Croke Park in March 2017.
He is the Chief Operations Manager of the family business Kerry Coaches.
Adding to the problems hindering Kerry’s preparations for the Munster championship opener against Clare in Fitzgerald Stadium on June 3rd, Shane Enright is unlikely to be fit for the game.
The All-Star corner-back sustained an ankle injury in training and looks certain to be ruled out of the Clare game.