He won’t be joined by Colm Cooper, of course, but Johnny Buckley is happy to focus on a new challenge with Kerry this weekend after Dr Crokes’ club disaster.
The powerful midfielder will team up with Crokes colleagues Daithi Casey and Fionn Fitzgerald in the Kerry panel for their Allianz League trip to Mayo.
Buckley cast doubt on Kieran O’Leary’s participation due to a knock, though Cooper will be the most high profile absentee after season ending cruciate knee ligament surgery.
The Cooper news was confirmed in the wake of Crokes’ third AIBAll-Ireland semi-final defeat in a row last Saturday week.
It’s been one giant headache for all concerned since the loss with Buckley agreeing with club colleague, Kerry chairman Patrick O’Sullivan, that the Cooper bombshell felt like ‘a death in the family’.
The irony is not lost on Buckley that he will travel to Castlebar on Sunday with Kerry, the home of Castlebar Mitchels who beat Crokes though he is happy to have the opportunity.
Buckley said: “Going back in with Kerry, in a way, is a good thing because it gets you back on track and gets you back into training.
“There’s a few of us back now, a couple of the older lads are back so we’ll go up to Mayo and hopefully we’ll pull a point or two out of it.
“Last year we stayed up by the skin of our teeth.
“It was a last minute point up in Donegal that did it for us.
“We definitely don’t want to be in that situation again this year. The focus is fully on getting the two points in Mayo.”
Buckley conceded that Kerry’s Allianz League record against Mayo is a poor one in recent seasons.
He continued: “We played them away last year too, it was early in the year, a disappointing loss.
“But we’re definitely hoping to go up this weekend and get something out of it.”
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