Cooper supported in decision to sit out Kerry's league campaign

The Dr Crokes star is targeting a championship return as he seeks to recharge the batteries following club disappointment.

Kerry's Colm Cooper.
Kerry's Colm Cooper.
Image: INPHO/Colm O'Neill.

ROOTED TO THE bottom of the table after three games, Kerry’s cause does not get any easier next Sunday.

A long trek along the western coastline to MacCumhaill Park in Ballybofey, the home of the reigning All-Ireland champions Donegal, awaits them.

Having to operate without familiar faces has hampered them in recent weeks and their blue-chip forward will be out of action for another while yet.

In the wake of Dr Crokes recent All-Ireland club disappointment Colm Cooper has opted to delay his inter-county return after consulting with manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice.

Cooper is set to sit out the remainder of the league campaign in order to be properly set for a championship assault this summer.

And a club and county team-mate of Cooper’s sees the merits in the decision despite the Kingdom potentially facing a relegation battle.

“Colm’s played a lot of football over the years and he’s under a lot of pressure with the stature that he holds to perform,” says Brian Looney, who was yesterday crowned 2012 AIB Munster Footballer of the Year.

“It’s good for Colm to recuperate and get the body right so when he comes back he’s right for road. I think we should have enough to go forward for the league, this weekend against Donegal especially.

“There’s a good few bodies now coming back. Paul Galvin from the club championship and Declan O’Sullivan from an injury so I think that experience and their skills will be a benefit to Kerry.”

Dr Crokes Brian Looney with his award yesterday. Pic: Sportsfile

Looney was on the bench for Kerry for last Sunday’s game against Kildare while Dr Crokes club mates Eoin Brosnan, Johnny Buckley, Kieran O’Leary and Fionn Fitzgerald all saw game time.

Despite their dejection at not having a St Patrick’s Day showdown in Croke Park to look forward to, Looney has enjoyed immersing himself in football again.

“We’d a long season with the club and for it to suddenly just come crashing down in front of you, is hard to take. If you lose a game playing well you can come to grips with it but not playing at all and making mistakes that we hadn’t done was very disappointing.

“But at the same time Ballymun didn’t leave us perform. They controlled the game really and didn’t allow us to get into full flow.

“Being back playing ball with a different setup does help. A couple weeks off would had been nice but at the same time when you’re given the call, you jump at the opportunity to come training with Kerry. It’s a nice distraction.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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