Paul Galvin has admitted he would have found it difficult to step away from Kerry had Colm Cooper picked up his season-ending injury earlier this year.
The 2009 footballer of the year has no intention of performing a u-turn on his decision at the start of the month to end his inter-county career.
However, he accepted things would have been more awkward for him had the Kerry captain, his former fellow half-forward, ruptured his cruciate ligament a few weeks previous.
“It probably would have made it harder for me but I don’t know,” shrugged the 34-year-old who announced his retirement after the February 1 defeat to Dublin.
“For me, I was just trying to give it time and it was proving very hard.
“I just felt that I’d come up short in terms of trying to do all the things I was doing. I suppose if I’m being very honest, it might have (impacted on his decision). It might have, but it’s all hearsay now.”
Galvin is certain Cooper (pictured), who had his operation last Friday, will bounce back from the setback better than ever. He spoke to him last week after the extent of the injury was diagnosed.
“Mentally, he’s probably the toughest player I ever played with. There’s a lot of pride as well, so that alone means he will make a strong return.
“You mightn’t realise it but he’s very strong legs, which is very important for that kind of injury. He’s very strong quad and thigh muscles and his legs in general were always very strong.”
Neither is Galvin overly despondent about Kerry’s All-Ireland chances without Cooper.
“I wouldn’t be as down in the mouth about it as people have been. It’s obviously a blow — you’re talking about probably the best player to have ever played the game.
“I just think Kerry are still in a good place. I think Kerry can’t afford to be as down in the mouth as has been portrayed since Colm’s injury. The group can’t have that mentality.
“The group have to come alive now and get better themselves, and look to fill the void in a different way, and maybe play in a different way.
“You’re talking about a player maybe of the calibre of Declan or Darran O’Sullivan going onto the 40. Both are very good players in the own right. There are others as well, other young lads. Kerry are still going to be knocking around come late August or early September. I wouldn’t be as negative as it might appear.”
Meanwhile, manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice said Kerry have no choice but to grin and bear Cooper’s injury. “It is a big blow but there is nothing like results to pick up a group because if you win a game you just move on,” he said.
“Football is a cold and ruthless business and we have all experienced injuries. The team will not hang around for you until you recover so we have just have to move on and try to improve.
“Colm’s presence is a loss because of what he brings to the team both on and off the field, but other fellows will have to step up and that is the way sport works.”
Like Galvin, Fitzmaurice paid testament to Cooper’s mental fortitude, which he believes will sustain him as he recovers on the sidelines.
“It’s a long road and it can be a lonely road but the hallmark of Colm down the years has been his mental strength. So he will be fine.
“It’s not like you are inside with the lads night in, night out, you are doing most of it on your own, and that can be very tough mentally.
“Colm is a tough character, he will get himself right and when he comes back, we will be delighted welcome him and have him back involved.”
However, Fitzmaurice is not convinced having more time in the season to cope with Cooper’s absence is an advantage. “I don’t think that there is ever a good time for an injury as serious as the one Colm suffered. Of course, it gives us a chance to try out things and to try different game plans or whatever earlier than if the injury happened during the heat of Championship, but we tend to do that anyway in the league.”
* Paul Galvin was speaking at the launch of the 2014 An Post Cycle Series. Five events will be held across the country, monthly between May and September. Visit www.anpost.ie/cycling for more information.
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