Former Footballer of the Year James O’Donoghue has left the Kerry football panel before their Munster Senior Football Championship final against Cork.
The 2014 Footballer of the Year has played just 85 minutes for his county in the last two seasons, having been sidelined with injury for much of his career.
He has returned to his club Killarney Legion, the team he had played with at the weekend, scoring 1-2 against Kenmare Shamrocks on Saturday night.
Kerry GAA chairman and senior football team liaison officer Tim Murphy confirmed the news.
“To be fair to Peter Keane, this probably happened post-Friday’s media briefing,” said Murphy.
O’Donoghue was tipped by Keane to be fighting for a place in the matchday 26.
However, O’Donoghue has not been part of the Kerry matchday 26 so far this season and did not feature in the Kerry A v B game which was also played on Saturday.
“James indicated that he wanted to take some time out from the Kerry set-up and play some club football to see could he get some form back and see where that would take him.
“It probably means that he will not be involved if we beat Cork because we have a very short window with everything to be completed within 4/5 weeks if Kerry does go all the way.”
The 31-year-old was part of the last All-Ireland winning Kerry side in 2014, starting the final at full-forward alongside Kieran Donaghy and Paul Geaney in Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s lineup.
The Tralee-born Gaelic footballer has also been an All-Star twice in his career, both earned consecutively in 2013 and 2014.
He scored 4-24 in the 2014 All-Ireland Championship, second overall across the season, and scored 2-06 in a stunning semi-final replay against Mayo.
O’Donoghue’s injury problems, coupled with Kerry’s depth in attack, has seen him without a game for the county since a league match against Galway in February 2020.