Cooper likely to sit out league
Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice expects to be without Colm Cooper for the entire Allianz Football League campaign.
The Kingdom begin their campaign against Dublin at Croke Park on Saturday, a match which is live on Setanta Ireland, but they will do so without Cooper as he is preparing for Dr Crokes’ All-Ireland Club SFC semi-final against Castlebar on February 15.
Although Cooper could make a return if Dr Crokes fail to reach the final, Fitzmaurice believes the 30-year-old would benefit from a break.
“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 is quoted as saying in the Irish Examiner.
Cooper has been a key member of the Kerry team for over ten years but having turned 30 he is beginning to look after himself, which Fitzmaurice believes will help him extend his inter-county career.
“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,” said Fitzmaurice.
“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.”