©INPHO/Donall Farmer
Kingdom Come

Prodigal Sons: Brosnan back home while Keaney mulls over footballing future

Three-time All-Ireland Champion Eoin Brosnan looks set to rejoin Jack O’Connor’s Kerry at centre-back.

ALMOST TWO YEARS after quitting inter-county football, former Kerry star Eoin Brosnan has done a remarkable u-turn and rejoined the Kingdom’s senior panel.

It was initially thought that Brosnan, who played intermittently at half-forward for eight years between 2001 and 2009, was returning to the side as a solution to Jack O’Connor’s much-publicised midfield problems.

The Kerry manager has struggled to nail down a settled midfield pairing since the retirement of Darragh O’Sé in 2009, experimenting with Anthony Maher and David Moran in last weekend’s league defeat against Cork.

Instead, it now appears that Brosnan will slot in at centre-back, freeing up Tomas O’Sé to return to his favoured role at wing-back.

The news of Brosnan’s return is bound to surprise many. Despite having won All-Ireland medals in 2004, 2006 and 2007, the 31-year-old walked away from the Kerry senior panel after the 2009 Munster Championship, apparently relieved to be escaping the media spotlight.

You begin to realise towards the end of your career there’s a lot more important things to life than football, things like work and family.

Inter-county football is a very pressurised environment. The glare of the national media is upon you. Walking down the street, every fella is looking at you, judging you. Near the end I wasn’t enjoying it so there was no point in doing it. There’s less pressure at club level and it’s something I’ve definitely enjoyed.

True blue

It also emerged yesterday that Brosnan may not be the only former footballer eyeing a return to the fold.

Speaking at the launch of the Allianz National Hurling league, five-time Leinster Football champion Conal Keaney admitted that he couldn’t rule out a future return to the Dubs football panel.

Pat [Gilroy] more or less said it. The door is never closed to  anyone. You never say never to anything. I’m only 28 and I’m going to give this year a go and see how it goes. Hopefully it will be a successful year for both teams.

At the moment, I’m just concentrating on the hurling. I’m trying to get as much hurling as I can, be it on my own or with training because it’s all about touch and trying to get it back.

The Ballyboden St Enda’s man struggled to hold down a place in Dublin’s starting line-up during last year’s Football Championship, with new boss Pat Gilroy preferring to deploy him as an impact sub instead.

Keaney subsequently announced earlier this year that he would be concentrating exclusively on his future as a hurler, ruling out any possibility of representing the county under both codes.