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What's Colm Cooper's role in the Kerry squad as he battles back from injury?

The attacker may be injured but he’s still involved in the Kingdom squad.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

LAST FEBRUARY COLM Cooper saw his 2014 season crash to a shuddering halt.

He tore his cruciate in Dr Crokes AIB All-Ireland club semi-final and the prospect of months of lonely rehabilitation stretched in front of him.

It’s been a tough task for the decorated Kerry player to watch on as his county have journeyed as far as Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final.

But he has not drifted away from the Kingdom and remains at the heart of the squad.

“He’s in with us every night in training, doing his own work,” revealed Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice. “He’s been back in with us since we’ve been in Killarney basically since April/May. He’s been ever-present really unless he’s working in Dublin or something.

“It’s good for him because that rehab work can be very lonely if you’re doing it on your own. Whereas if he’s doing it on the side of the pitch and he’s the best of care in terms of physios and the backroom team, he’s doing it with the group.

“He’s enjoying it. Obviously, he’s finding the game days difficult because he wants to be playing but he enjoys being inside with the group and he has very valuable input to the group.”

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Cooper has not been assigned a specific role helping the Kerry forwards but he has a constructive input into their team meetings.

“He’s a presence in our team meetings and if he’s a point to make he’ll make it and he’s free to make his points,” outlined Fitzmaurice. “He’s still a very important part to the group.

“He hasn’t worked specifically with the forwards but if he had a point to make to the forwards he’d be free to do it. He might advise one of the forwards one-on-one what they might be doing better. He’s a very smart guy and a very good understanding of football. We’d all take heed of what he’s saying.”

Colm Cooper injured Colm Cooper lying injured during Dr Crokes game in Portlaoise last February. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Fitzmaurice ruled out any chance of Cooper making a sensational comeback this season but did admit the attacker is ahead of schedule in his recovery.

“He’s doing very well but it will be 2015 before he’s back playing football. Some nights, you’d be looking at him in the stadium and he’s kicking and he’s running in straight lines and he’s hopping on trampolines and he’s doing everything and you’d be saying ‘it looks like there’s 10 minutes in him’. But I’m afraid not.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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