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Doubts over James O'Donoghue's Kerry future as forward steps away from squad

The Killarney Legion player has struggled with injury issues in recent years.

Kerry forward James O'Donoghue.
Kerry forward James O'Donoghue.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

JAMES O’DONOGHUE LEFT the Kerry senior football squad over the weekend and returned to his club Killarney Legion, casting doubt over his future with the Kingdom.

It is not clear if O’Donoghue holds any ambitions of returning to the squad, with Kerry chairman and senior football team liaison officer Tim Murphy confirming the forward is no longer part of the senior setup as Peter Keane’s squad prepare for Sunday’s Munster final meeting with Cork.

“To be fair to Peter Keane, this probably happened post Friday’s media briefing, during which the Kerry manager had indicated that James was battling for a place in the matchday 26. 

“James indicated that he wanted to take some time out from the Kerry setup and play some club football to see could he get some form back and see where that would take him.

“It probably means that he will not be involved if we beat Cork because we have a very short window with everything to be completed within four to five weeks if Kerry do go all the way (to the All-Ireland final).”

O’Donoghue lined out for his club Killarney Legion on Saturday evening, scoring the opening goal in a win over Kenmare Shamrocks and finishing the game with a total of 1-2. He was only on the field of play for the first half and did not reappear for the second half of the game.

O’Donoghue has not been part of any Kerry matchday 26 so far this season and did not feature in a Kerry A v B game played last Saturday. 

His last game for Kerry was a league meeting with Galway in February 2020, where he scored 0-2 in the opening half before being replaced by Tommy Walsh at half-time.

He also played in the opening league game of 2020 against Dublin, scoring 0-3 before being replaced by Killian Spillane in the second half.

And it now appears the 31-year-old Killarney Legion star is close to calling time on his intercounty career having been plagued by injuries over the past number of years – playing only 85 minutes of football for Kerry in two seasons. 

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The 2014 Footballer of the Year was part of Kerry’s All-Ireland winning side that year, and has two All-Stars and eight Munster Championships to his name. 

Meanwhile, Kerry forward Dara Moynihan is rated as extremely doubtful for Sunday’s Munster final at Fitzgerald Stadium, while Tony Brosnan is fully fit.  

– First published 12.06, 20 July

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