GAA Football

Ciaran McKeever to mull over Armagh future after latest injury

Ciaran McKeever (right) is ruled out of Armagh's Championship campaign with a broken foot
Picture by Philip Walsh

CIARAN McKeever says he won’t be making any rash decisions about his Armagh future following another injury setback that rules him out of tomorrow’s All-Ireland Championship rematch with Laois.

The Dublin-based defender suffered a broken foot during a training session with his club St Oliver Plunkett’s last week.

While the 33-year-old Cullyhanna native retains the desire to play on with Armagh next season he admits there is plenty to consider before making a decision.

McKeever’s Championship participation has been seriously curtailed over the last couple of seasons by a number of injuries including a previous foot injury, a torn calf and knee injury.

It’s the second time this season McKeever has had to undergo surgery having missed the vast majority of Armagh’s NFL campaign with a knee problem.

“I love pulling on that Armagh jersey,” he said. “I’m not going to make any rash decisions. Mentally, it takes a lot out of you coming back from each injury, so I’ll just take my time with this one. I’ll have a chat with the management team and see where I go from here.”

Due his knee and foot injuries, McKeever is out of work for another spell and admitted that it’s something he’ll have to think about over the summer.

“That’s two operations in the one year and I’ll be out of work for roughly six weeks each time,” he said.

“That’s something I really have to look at because I can’t afford to be out of work for that length of time. I work for Joe Duffy Motors in Dublin and they’ve been great with me. They understand the commitment required at inter-county level, so I’m very appreciative to them.”

Should Armagh progress beyond Laois on Saturday, McKeever will not feature for them for the remainder of the summer.

The centre-back was jogging across the pitch last Tuesday night when his foot hit a divot.

“I just rolled my ankle. I had an operation on Friday. Now I have a pin in it.”

Asked does he feel cursed with the spate of injuries he’s endured over the last two seasons, McKeever said: “I don’t, no. When you look at the injuries I’ve had a lot of them have been contact injuries. You play a contact sport and that’s part and parcel of it. For years, I’d no injuries coming out of contact. Maybe they’re all tallying up after 18 years playing at senior level!

“You have to take the good with the bad, don’t you? When the injuries come you’re almost ready for them.

“A couple of years ago I had a foot injury, the year we got to the All-Ireland quarter-finals I tore my calf and this year I hurt my knee in a friendly game against Roscommon. I went up to catch the ball and I fell awkwardly when I hit the ground. And last Tuesday night, it was unfortunate what happened.

“It would be different if they tissue injuries I was getting, but a lot of them have contact injuries.”

McKeever joins James Morgan, Ethan Rafferty, Mark Shields, Colm Watters and Ciaran O’Hanlon on the sidelines – all of whom played in the Ulster Championship defeat to Cavan only a few weeks ago.

“I’d love to be playing on Saturday. Everything was doom and gloom leaving Laois last Saturday evening and you were planning the rest of your summer out, and then rumours were circulating on Monday evening about a possible replay, but everyone was still unsure about what was going to happen...

“Boys drowned their sorrows, others booked holidays and now we have a rematch.”

McKeever added: “I don’t think there’s any pressure on Armagh on Saturday – all the pressure is on Laois.

“There is a core of young boys there who have been immense throughout the year and they’re going to get a chance on Saturday evening.

“It’s time to step up and make their mark because they are Armagh’s future over the next five or 10 years. It’s a massive opportunity for them to make that step on Saturday evening.”

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