Kingdom won’t rush Gooch back

Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice reckons Colm Cooper is unlikely to return to county colours ahead of the championship.

“The situation with Colm is that he has huge mileage on the clock, particularly over the last couple of seasons, because of the success Dr Crokes have enjoyed,” he said.

“Before Christmas when lads in the panel were able to do pieces of work in the gym Colm played nine games in 10 weekends, which is massive at that time of the year.

“He had a bit of a break over Christmas but the Crokes trained hard in January and then he had a major disappointment against Ballymun two weeks ago.”

Fitzmaurice said yesterday Kerry were targeting a fresh Colm Cooper come the summer time.

“He has a few niggles but it’s more in terms of mental freshness. We want to give him a break away from the action at the moment so that when he comes back in, he will be mad for road. In terms of date for his return, we have not set one.

“I have spoken to Colm a couple of times and we are going to play it by ear. He certainly won’t play any football for Kerry in March.

“Our last game is away to Tyrone, it might well be a do or die game in terms of staying in the top flight so we might use Colm.

“But it might be a nothing game and I doubt then if we would be pressing Colm in action at that stage.”

He added: “We are going to stick to our plan. I am one hundred percent certain that Colm will back when we want him — and that is likely to be for the championship.”


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