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Ex-Aussie Rules player departs Kildare panel as serious hip injury takes its toll

Sean Hurley only recently returned from a couple of injury-hit seasons in the AFL.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

KILDARE FOOTBALLER SEÁN Hurley is stepping away from the county set-up, for the time being at least.

Hurley spent two injury-ravaged  years in Australia with AFL side Freemantle Dockers, before he was released last August.

He returned Down Under in November to undergo hip surgery, before rejoining the Kildare squad as he stepped up his recovery.

The Johnstownbridge man featured in the O’Bryne Cup  last month, but has since suffered a number of injury set-backs which have influenced his decision to take some time out from the rigorous demands of inter-county football.

Lilywhites boss Cian O’Neill confirmed the news in a statement today.

“This will allow Seán to focus solely on the health of his hip first and foremost before he considers his next step in terms of returning to play football at any level, not to mind at elite inter-county level,” said O’Neill.

Cian O'Neill Kildare manager Cian O'Neill Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“Seán has had a tough few years with various injuries, particularly in Australia during his time with Fremantle, and while it would have been fantastic for Seán and indeed for Kildare football if his ‘return to play’ was immediate, this was never going to be the case.

“Unfortunately, his most recent hip surgery, and all the difficulties that are part of a rehabilitation programme following such a serious injury, have taken their toll on Seán and his body so the priority now has to be his basic health and functionality.

“Seán is still a very young man and has plenty of time to play football provided his body is healthy and allows him to do so. I look forward to chatting to him regularly in the coming weeks and months as he keeps me updated on his progress.”

Hurley emerged as one of Kildare’s most promising youngsters when he was a key figure in their run to the Leinster U21 title in 2013.

Sean Hurley tackles Jack McCaffrey Hurley tackles UCD's Jack McCaffrey in a 2014 O'Byrne Cup game Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

He made the move to Fremantle in October 2014 and played in 14 league games for Fremantle’s Western Australian Football League club Peel Thunder the following year.

Hip surgery in the 2016 pre-season meant he managed only three games in 2016 for Peel Thunder before his release.

Last week, Hurley gave an insight into his injury woes.

“It was a case of my body screaming at me over a period of time, with my knees, quads, Achilles tendon, and hips all giving me trouble,” he said.

Returning to full speed s on the GAA field after a spell in the AFL is not an easy process, as evidenced by Tommy Walsh’s struggles to make an impact in Kerry when his tenure with the Sydney Swans ended.

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Kevin O'Brien

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