Mick Foley opts out of the Kildare football squad for 2015

Imminent statement via GPA and county board may herald end of ten-year career for the county

Mick Foley: “I’m teaching full-time at the moment [in Maynooth post-primary school] and I’m also now doing a course outside of teaching.” Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Kildare

will have to do without former All Star full-back

Mick Foley

for the 2015 season; in fact it’s unlikely he will appear again in the white of Kildare.

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The Athy club man has opted against playing an 11th season with the county’s senior team, enrolling in a part-time teaching course on top of continuing his job as a full-time teacher.

“There isn’t enough time for both,” he says, and so the 30-year-old has decided to hang up his boots for this year at least.

Intercounty retirement

“At this point I won’t be involved with Kildare next year,” said Foley who also explained that a statement on his decision will be released in the near future via the GPA and the Kildare County Board, one which seems likely to confirm his intercounty retirement.

“I’m teaching full-time at the moment [in Maynooth post-primary school] and I’m also now doing a course outside of teaching, so I’ve decided that from a career point of view, I’m trying to kind of upscale myself in teaching maths, and I won’t be playing with Kildare this year,” he added.

The formidable defender made his senior debut for the Lilywhites in 2004, and for the following 10 years he featured primarily at full-back as well as across the half-back line and at midfield for his county.

In 2011 he was named on the All Stars team as Kildare brought that year's All-Ireland champions Dublin to within a point in the Leinster semi-final, and again were the wrong side of a one-point game against Donegal in the All-Ireland quarter final. That Donegal team would, of course, go on to claim the following year's All-Ireland championship.

Triumphs

Foley came into the Kildare senior set-up off the back of a Leinster U-21 triumph in 2004; nonetheless, the only pieces of silverware he collected during his decade of service to the county at senior level were successive O’Byrne Cup triumphs in 2013 and 2014.

Last year, though, turned out to be a somewhat disappointing one for the defender, after an emphatic Leinster championship victory over Louth in which Foley gave a typically unerring performance. Kildare were dismantled in the provincial semi-final, with Stephen Bray in particular, and the pace and mobility of Meath's forward line in general, causing all sort of problems for the exposed Kildare full back line.

Foley was substituted in that game and despite being named at full-back and then midfield in Kildare’s final two qualifier matches against Clare, and then in the defeat to Monaghan, he neither started nor did he feature at all in those qualifier rounds.

Fellow defender Hugh McGrillen, who filled in at full-back for Kildare during those matches, has announced that he will be taking a year out of Jason Ryan's panel to travel. On the flipside, 2013 All Star Peter Kelly has returned after an injury-ravaged 2014.

Jason Ryan’s panel is currently hampered by a number of injuries including Fergal Conway, Alan Smith and long-term absentee Mikey Conway who does remain a part of the panel despite him still not having returned from injury.

The major injury concern remains midfielder Daryl Flynn who will sit out the entire league as his ankle injury will require surgery. Ryan says that Flynn "has been struggling with his ankle for quite a few years now and it's got to the stage where it's so unstable that it now needs to be operated on. That operation will be in the next few weeks."

Flynn played through the pain barrier for his club Moorefield during their county championship triumph late last year, although by the Leinster club semi-final stage he was unable to start in their defeat to Rhode. However he was still called on from the bench to take some part in that encounter.

Meanwhile, last year's Mayo captain Andy Moran will be featuring for the Connacht champions this year.

Injury concerns

The 31-year-old will be using the pre-season to put to bed any niggling injury concerns and therefore will not be featuring in the FBD league. Nonetheless, the 2011 All Star full-forward will definitely be back at some point in the league for what will be his 11th season in the green and gold.

Elsewhere, the Dublin hurlers will be without their former All Star Alan McCrabbe as he has withdrawn from the 2015 panel due to work and family commitments. The 28-year-old took a year out in 2013, citing similar reasons.

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a former Irish Times journalist