Kildare veteran Dermot Earley admits he is “always thinking” of his knee, having just recovered from serious injury, but is confident he can play a part in this year’s championship.
“I am always thinking of it to be honest. Probably prior to a game it’s on my mind a lot, but once you get going maybe probably the first hit or first ball you kind of can forget about it. It lets me know every now and again. I can feel it getting stronger and stronger each week.
“Hopefully that will continue and I can stay injury free. It’s not too bad (after games). I just have to be mindful. There was a period where I had to rest it and the whole way I am learning as well what I can and can’t do. It’s a lesson learnt and maybe after the next match I might have to take a day or two off and let it settle.”
Asked if he saw a role for himself as an impact sub, Earley said: “Obviously if you are competing and training on a weekly basis with the lads the whole ambition is to start in championship football. That’s what you want to do.
I’d like to think that I could be at that level this year and I can start football. It’s a team effort there is a panel there. If my role is coming on I’d be happy to play at any stage.”
Meanwhile, Derry captain Paddy Bradley will mark a significant milestone in his playing career when he chalks up his 50th championship appearance against in the Ulster Championship quarter-final against Donegal next month.
Bradley, who made his debut in 2000, had not missed a championship match through injury until last year.
He will become the third Derry player to reach the half-century mark, the others being Sean Martin Lockhart and Enda Muldoon.
Meanwhile, vice-captain Joe Diver is pushing strongly for a starting place against Donegal now that he has fully recovered from injury.
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