Kieran Donaghy: Maurice Fitzgerald move may tempt me back for one more year

Kieran Donaghy has admitted that the prospect of sharing the Kerry dressing room with Maurice Fitzgerald could convince him to give it one more year in the green and gold.

Donaghy, 33, has yet to confirm his plans for 2017 and admitted that a taxing job, his young family, and basketball commitments have all combined to make it an incredibly difficult decision.

The former Kerry captain was speaking in Dublin where his book, What Do You Think of That was confirmed as the eir Sport Sports Book of the Year and he admitted his original plan was to be retired by now.

However, he said that actually pushing the button and confirming the end of his storied career, which yielded four All-Ireland medals and three All Star awards has, so far, been a bridge too far.

Kingdom supporters will interpret no news from the former footballer of the year as good news just weeks out from January and Donaghy admitted that joining legendary figure Fitzgerald, a new Kerry selector, in the 2017 setup has its appeal.

“That’ll certainly come into the consideration of everything,” said Donaghy. “It would be great to be in a dressing room with him. As much as I know him and came across him over the years, and looked up to him hugely, he was my hero, but with all that, I’ve never actually been in the same dressing room.

“I’ve heard him do one or two talks before, and I’ve been very impressed with the way he speaks. I’ve no doubt he’ll bring an awful lot to Kerry football and, whether I’m here or not, will help the forwards and help guys really, in general, all over the pitch.

“Everybody thinks he’s this kind of quiet, kind of reserved guy, but he’s actually quite funny, quite engaging and very intelligent. He is probably one of the best football brains to ever put on the Kerry jersey. The forwards have no excuse now anyway; Liam Hassett, Mikey Sheehy, and Maurice Fitz [are all in the backroom team]. If they’re not shooting the lights out, there’ll be something wrong.”

Fitzgerald, whose St Mary’s Cahersiveen outfit captured a three-in-a-row of South Kerry district championship titles, admitted he hasn’t actually given too much thought to his new Kerry role yet.

“I don’t plan anything much at all,” said Fitzgerald. “What is for you will happen. It would be remiss of me not to say that the only reason the opportunity presented itself was Diarmuid Murphy, after six years, has decided to take some time out. In that sense, I have big shoes to fill and I would not have the opportunity only for that, so a lot of credit must go to Diarmuid for a great job he did and the commitment he has shown to Kerry as a player and then as a selector. I am excited about my elevation and looking forward to it.”

Donaghy could yet join him, though if he does extend his Kingdom career, he may sit out the early stages of the season, due to basketball commitments.

“I’ve worked hard to get the basketball team back to Tralee,” said Donaghy. “It took a lot of meetings and negotiations, when you are bringing two rival clubs from the town together. Picture your own town and pick the rival clubs and tell them they are joining together to play and try and go after something more than just local basketball, to have something for the kids to aim at, to have a super league with a team to aim at. I did so much to help get it back that I feel I have to be there and be all in with it. That will be until March.”


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