Colm Cooper refused to be drawn on his inter-county future in the wake of his All-Ireland club title win with Dr Crokes on St Patrick’s Day.
The Gooch scored 1-2, 1-1 coming from play, as the Killarney side captured the Andy Merrigan Cup for the first time in 25 years, beating Slaughtneil from Derry 1-09 to 1-07 at Croke Park.
One of the greatest players of his generation, he will turn 34 this summer and speculation has been mounting that he’s getting ready to call it a day with Kerry.
But after Friday’s win, he insisted that he hadn’t given his future with the Kingdom any thought.
“Today is Dr Crokes day. I didn’t look past today in any way because it’s such a special day,” said Cooper, speaking to RTÉ sport.
Gooch was and eight-year-old team mascot when the club won their first All-Ireland club title in ’92 and his search for this medal has gone on for more than ten years.
He was part of the side that lost the 2007 final to Crossmaglen Rangers after a replay and it was one of the few major medals that had eluded him.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” he marvelled. “We have had to wait so long and we’ve had ups and we’ve had downs. I just can’t believe it happened today! We made it tough on ourselves again, but fair play to Slaughtneil because they hung in there really well with 14 men.”
Cooper scored an important goal in the first half just when his team needed a lift and he revealed he was delighted to have notched it, even if he wanted a higher scoring return from the day.
“It is special and and it was a big score in the match because we were struggling a bit at that stage,” he noted. “I probably would have wanted to score a little bit more, but when you win you’d take a goal in the final.”
Slaughtneil had midfielder Paudie Cassidy, who scored their first half goal, sent off right on the stroke of half-time and with 14 men the Ulster champions struggled to break down Crokes.
Crokes were managed by former All-Ireland winning boss Pat O'Shea, who was also on the team when they won the club title in 1992.