Peter Keane hopes Gavin White will return to face Clare

Kerry football manager Peter Keane is “more hopeful than not” that Gavin White will play a part in the county’s Munster SFC semi-final against Clare on Saturday week.

White, who missed Kerry’s league campaign owing to Dr Crokes’ run to the All-Ireland club final, injured his elbow in mid-April, leaving him sidelined for the past number of weeks. But Kingdom boss Keane is optimistic the 2018 All-Star nominee will be available for their trip to Ennis on June 1.

“Gavin is nearly right. He’s getting there. More hopeful than not that he’ll be okay for the Clare game,” said Keane.

White is one of four Crokes footballers, along with Tony Brosnan, Michéal Burns, and David Shaw who joined the Kerry panel following their All-Ireland club final defeat, with Keane conceding that the quartet are behind their teammates in getting settled into the new Kerry camp.

“Like anyone, you’d rather have had all these guys involved [from the start]. Sometimes, they come in and they are a bit fresher because they are looking at things a bit different. They weren’t with us for the league.

They’re getting used to us and we’re getting used to them, whereas the other guys would have been getting used to us during January, February, and March.

"They’re a little bit behind in that, but that’s just what it is.”

Paul Murphy is back in full training after five weeks out because of an ankle injury. Kevin McCarthy, who started four league games, is awaiting surgery on his shoulder and so is set for an extended period on the sideline.

Keane revealed that Spa’s Liam Kearney, who has won All-Ireland minor and junior medals with the Kingdom, and Legion’s Danny Sheahan have joined the panel.

The season-ending cruciate injury suffered by Peter Crowley last month, said Keane, was a setback to their championship preparations.

“It is disappointing for him and it is disappointing for us because he had a great league. He settled well into the full-back line, was offering great guidance and experience to the younger players around him. He is still involved and it is important we keep him involved because of what he can offer us.”

Meanwhile, Kerry’s 2015 All-Ireland minor winning captain Mark O’Connor is on the verge of signing a new multi-year contract with AFL table-toppers Geelong as a result of his brilliant start to the campaign.

The 22-year-old played seven games in his first two seasons with Geelong and was given a one-year extension to bring him through to the end of 2019.

Entering the midway point of the year, with a raft of strong performances behind him, the Dingle native has done enough to earn a longer-term deal, which he is expected to sign in the coming weeks.

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