Colm Cooper may not take any part in the Allianz National Football League this year as Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice bids to get the best from his Dr Crokes star during the Championship.
The 30-year-old is preparing for the 15 February All-Ireland Club SFC semi-final against Castlebar, and if Crokes get through that match, Fitzmaurice says Cooper won’t take part in the league.
Fitzmaurice said in the Irish Examiner: “If Dr Crokes go to the (All-Ireland final in the) middle of March, Colm won’t play league football, no matter how far we go, it’s as simple as that. If they’re beaten in February we’ll reassess, but I think he’ll need a break.”
Fitzmaurice also noted that his captain is looking after himself more these days, saying: “He’s really looking after himself, and so he will play on. He is a lot more careful and disciplined than he would have been four or five years ago.
“If he has the appetite, he can play or for three or four more years, at least. People have to remember that Colm was thrown into the deep end with Kerry at 18 years of age in 2002.
“These things take a while before you realise what precisely you should be doing to take care of yourself.”
Kerry begin their league campaign against Dublin at Croke Park on Saturday evening, 7pm.
Live radio coverage of the Allianz NFL meeting of Dublin and Kerry on An tSraith Náisiúnta from 19:00 on Saturday 1 February on RTÉ RnaG and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide). Live coverage and updates of all the day’s action on Sunday Sport from 14:00 on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide). Television highlights on League Sunday from 19:30 on RTÉ Two and RTE.ie (Ireland only).