GAA Football

Kieran Donaghy still has unfinished business with Kerry

Kieran Donaghy admits he would've considered retiring had Kerry come out on top against Dublin the All-Ireland final in 2015
Paul Keane

VETERAN full-forward Kieran Donaghy has revealed there was a strong possibility he would have retired if he’d captained Kerry to the All-Ireland football title last September.

The 32-year old four-time All-Ireland medallist was poised to cap an incredible Kingdom career when he captained the team to the Championship decider and nudged them within 70 minutes of rare back to back titles.

A three-point defeat to Dublin ultimately blew a hole through Donaghy’s ambitions and while that stung intensely at the time, prompting him to consider retirement for several months, he came to the conclusion that it wasn’t a fitting platform to bow out upon.

Donaghy, an AllStar in 2014 when Kerry won their last All-Ireland and the Footballer of the Year in 2006, said that a clean bill of personal health, as well as the decisions of fellow veterans Aidan O’Mahony and Marc O Se to return this year were also factors in his decision to stay on.

“Coming off the field last September, retirement was certainly in my head,” said Donaghy. “I wasn’t 100 per cent, I didn’t go home and say, ‘this is over’. But I knew it was something I was going to have to have to think long and hard about.

“It wasn’t a decision that was made but it was certainly in my head, yeah. But you know, there’s been people suggesting that it should have been in my head maybe three or four years ago as well. So you’re just trying to weigh up and make the right decision for yourself and your family really.”

Asked if he would have retired if Kerry won, Donaghy nodded.

“Possibly, yeah,” continued the Tralee man. “You’re thinking then, ‘can it get any better?’ Like, if I came back for this year after winning last year, you’re never going to have it as good as winning it as captain. I just felt that it probably would have been a nice time to go if that result had went the other way.

“But it’s almost the case that the way it did go made this decision easier and made the decision for me to go again a lot easier. If you were coming back after winning two years in a row, and you’d been captain the second year, like, two years in a row is quite hard to do and three is nearly impossible.”

Donaghy was dropped for the All-Ireland final though appeared as a substitute and was involved in a high profile clash with Dubs defender Philly McMahon whose hand appeared to make contact with Donaghy’s eye during a tussle.

Donaghy played down the incident in public though in a subsequent RTE TV documentary was heard shouting at match referee David Coldrick that McMahon ‘gouged my eye on the ground’.

Donaghy refused to discuss the gouging allegation when raised again yesterday though claimed that Coldrick shouldn’t have been wearing a microphone for the purposes of the documentary.

“I don’t think a ref should be reffing a big game knowing that he is miked up, that would be my take on it,” said Donaghy. “Just for the mental side of it, they have enough to be worrying about on the field without worrying about if I say this or if I say that.”

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