Kildare footballer James Kavanagh has said speculation linking him with a switch to the Galway team this season is wide of the mark.

The Dublin-based garda recently quit the Kildare panel and has a new house in Milltown, Galway, leading to speculation he would be switching his inter-county allegiance to the Tribesmen this year.

However Kavanagh, whose wife is expecting their first child, said: "I just need to take a step back."

The 27-year-old two-time All Star nominee told the Kildare Nationalist: "There is nothing there with Galway at all. It’s obviously going to be said because I’m moving to Galway and leaving Kildare but there’s nothing in that at all.

"I am disappointed to be leaving the lads I have trained with for a long time. A bit of you feels that you’re leaving them down.

"But I have to make a decision and I feel I’ve made the right decision for now. Whatever comes down the road, we’ll see but this is the way it has to be for the moment."

"I need to get a few things sorted and down in concrete before I can go back and get going again" - James Kavanagh

"Linda’s due our first child at the end of February and we’ve a house as good as built down here in Milltown and with me being on shift work in Crumlin as well, it was all becoming a bit too much for me.

"I just feel that I couldn’t give 100% at the moment and this level, it’s all or nothing.

"I wouldn’t consider myself retired. I just need to take a step back. I’ve been travelling up and down the road to Galway the last couple of years and it was tough but I was managing it. But circumstances have changed now.

"I just feel I have come to a stage now where I need to get a few things sorted and down in concrete before I can go back and get going again."

Kavanagh grew up in Galway and played on the St Jarlath’s team in the early 2000s. He was part of the Kildare Under 21 team that won the Leinster title in 2004 and made his senior debut the following year.