Killian Young: Kieran Donaghy's basketball commitments can make him better footballer

Killian Young: Kieran Donaghy's basketball commitments can make him better footballer

Kerry defender Killian Young believes that colleague Kieran Donaghy's international basketball commitments will actually help him as a Gaelic footballer in the coming months, writes Paul Keane.

Donaghy has been named in Ireland coach Pete Strickland's 20-man panel which will begin training in April and will ultimately be targeting the 2018 Small Nations Tournament.

Former Kerry captain Donaghy, 34, hasn't featured for Eamonn Fitzmaurice's side since last year's Championship defeat to Dublin and Strickland has stated that 'it is my avowed goal to make this Irish team a living embodiment to teamwork, hard work and basketball acumen that all of Europe must contend with'.

That may not be music to Fitzmaurice's ears with Donaghy sure to be under increased pressure to answer both masters. Young is optimistic about the situation and believes the Tralee man will find that the two sports actually complement each other.

"One thing does complement the other, basketball has complemented his whole (Gaelic football) career and has really brought him on with Kerry," said Young. "I think that's going to really put an edge to him now, his handling I'm sure will benefit from the basketball as well and of course fitness is another big part of it.

"It's kept him active over the winter, he's enjoying it so it's good. He'll be mentally fresh as well coming back to Kerry when the time comes."

Donaghy is a key player for hometown club Tralee Warriors whose return to National League basketball has demanded an increased commitment from the towering 2014 All-Star.

"I spoke to him yesterday morning but the news hadn't broken so I would have liked to have asked him a few questions about it alright," said Young.

"It's an interesting one but I don't know what the format is or what it means for him but I do know he's keen to come back with Kerry and he has an eye on Kerry already and he has been training with us in the gym so it's not like he's a million miles away from us. He has one foot in already but I'm not sure what that new structure will mean for him."

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