Darran O’Sullivan: Kieran Donaghy tried to stop me, but it was time to retire

After hanging up his boots in the winter, new Paddy Power News GAA Ambassador Darran O’Sullivan looks ahead to what’s in store for Kerry in 2019…

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It’s strange alright not to be heading back to Kerry training, but with the weather turning a bit cold I’m feeling a little better about it.

I also have a new baby at home and I probably don’t have the time to go back anyway as we’re just trying to settle into that.

The next couple of weeks are going to be a bit different trying to make the transition, I don’t know anything else but getting ready for National League.

I could miss it as soon as next Sunday when Kerry are lining out in Killarney to play Tyrone, but come Championship time I’ll definitely find it hard.

However, it’s nice not to be rushing and racing to get over to training, as well as trying to get myself back to fitness.

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Star-ry eyed advice

I’m very friendly with all the boys involved with Kerry, but Kieran Donaghy was onto me the week before he announced his retirement and he spent about an hour trying to convince me not to do it myself.

But I kind of had my mind made up and I knew I was going to call it a day. It’s each to their own decision really, there would have been zero point just hanging around because some else had retired.

I’m only 32, but the body was saying that it can’t do the load and with all the younger lads coming through, I said it was time to step away.

I just didn’t trust that I ‘d be able to stand up to the three nights of the week on the field and two in the gym.

I wouldn’t say it was easier to retire once Eamonn Fitzmaurice had gone, at the same time you’d want to stay on and not put the new manager into it without a lot of experience. That did play on my mind, I know Peter Keane and I believe he’s going to be very good for Kerry.

However, you have to think for yourself at this stage.

Keane to see Kingdom youth

I’m sure Kerry’s young panel can take the leadership of it now and there’s still a lot of experience in there too.

It’s probably easier for the new lads coming in too, because there’s so many young guys in the panel anyway. That’ll help them settle even quicker and they’ll all have to grow together.

Killian Young and David Moran will be the most experienced lads left and they’d be fellas who I’d be encouraging the younger lads to listen to. Pick their brains because they’ve played with the older stock who knew nothing else but winning and getting to All-Ireland finals.

They need to be listening to.

Peter Keane will be a very good appointment for Kerry. Will it happen for him straight away? I can’t answer that.

It doesn’t matter how good the manager is, sometimes it takes the players a bit to adapt.

There’s a big difference from being an outstanding minor and being even a decent senior. Some players – like David Clifford – take to it like a duck to water, but it doesn’t happen for everyone.

I reckon Kerry people know that we’re going to have to be a bit patient. It’s a big change and there’s a lot of people gone off the panel too. I met Peter not so long ago and everything he said to me as a Kerry fan was pleasing to hear. He’s starting from scratch with a new group and he will be given time I’m sure.

Kerry need Cork to come back

Being on the outside now, you’d want to see Cork to come back stronger.

Tipperary and Clare have emerged in the last five years, they probably don’t get the respect they deserve either.

But. Kerry need Cork! We need the test that they bring.

You can only beat what’s in front of you too. In 2018 we did that in Munster and we just hit a blip in the Super 8s, that’s what cost us.

That said, we don’t want Cork back too strong either – hopefully we’ll still be beating them – but as a fan now, you want to see good games when you go to them.

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