James O’Donoghue may miss league if surgery goes ahead

Kerry star must decide when operation on troublesome shoulder will be carried out

Kerry’s James O’Donoghue: “Maybe this year I kind of owe it back to the club to battle on.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

James O’Donoghue may miss next year’s league campaign for Kerry, depending on whether he elects to go in for surgery on his troublesome shoulder.

The 2014 Footballer of the Year has a county semi-final for his club Killarney Legion against Rathmore on Sunday, the result of which will have a bearing on whether he will miss a second successive spring campaign. One way or another, O’Donoghue’s shoulder will need more surgery; it’s just a matter of when.

“It’s okay, I’m managing it,” he said. “Obviously I had hoped that there would be no more issues after the operation last year but that didn’t go to plan. But I think that I can manage it fine. Whether I need to get another surgery on it, I don’t know. I’m sick of getting surgery but if it’s the only way forward I will have to do it. But at the minute, I haven’t decided. Depending on how I get on with the club, hopefully we will keep that run going and avoid surgery.

Shoulder issue

“Can you mind it and not get surgery or do you bite the bullet and get it again? The final act for me with the shoulder will be surgery again, whether it’s this year or not I don’t know.”


O’Donoghue’s shoulders have been an issue since he was a minor and his hope would be that one final surgery would sort the problem out for good.

Six months

Surgery would mean another six months out at least so he won’t take the decision lightly, but nothing will be decided until Legion’s season ends.

“In fairness I didn’t do the club any favours last year because I decided to get the operation. We had already lost in the county championship so we couldn’t have gone any further. But we were still in a couple of other competitions but I said, ‘Look lads, I’m going to get the surgery’. And obviously there were a few lads disappointed I didn’t play on but I had to do that for myself. So maybe this year I kind of owe it back to the club to battle on.”

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin is a sports writer with The Irish Times