NO, he’s not retired. And no, he’s not transferring to Galway. In fact, if all goes well for James Kavanagh in his busy life over the next 12 months, he may yet return to play with Kildare.
News of his departure from Kieran McGeeney’s county squad first sent shockwaves through the county before they gave way to a rumour mill in overdrive.
Having earned two All-Star nominations in the last four years as well as selection for the international rules series in 2010, it was never going to be a low-key departure when the Ballymore decided to opt out of inter-county football. At 27 years of age, he still has much to offer, which is probably why the rumour mill ran amok once his decision had become public. For that reason, he wanted to inform Kildare supporters of the facts.
So here’s the summary. He has a lot going on right now. He is not retired but taking a break. He is not transferring to Galway. If all goes well, he will be back for Kildare yet. He may be effectively living out west now but that has been the case for a couple of years now.
He may have played eight senior championship seasons but he won’t be 28 until May. He will continue to play with Ballymore while he is based as a Garda in Dublin.
“Linda’s due our first child at the end of February and we’ve a house as good as built down here in Milltown (Galway) and with me being on shift work in Crumlin as well, it was all becoming a bit too much for me” Kavanagh told the Kildare Nationalist.
“I just feel that I couldn’t give 100 per cent to it at the moment and at this level, it’s all or nothing.
“I wouldn’t consider myself retired. I just need to take a step back from it. I’ve been travelling up and down the road to Galway the last couple of years and it was tough but I was managing it. But circumstances have changed now. I got married, we built the house and now, please God, we’ll have our first child coming soon.
“I just feel I have come to a stage now where I need to get a few things sorted and down in concrete before I can go back and get going again.”
Twitter reports had Kavanagh getting a work transfer to Mayo. He wishes that were the case to ease the travelling burden. He has applied for a transfer and must now wait to see if and when that will be granted. We won’t be seeing him in maroon this year though.
“There is nothing there with Galway at all. It’s obviously going to be said because I’m moving to Galway and leaving Kildare but there’s nothing in that at all.
“I am disappointed to be leaving the lads I have trained with for a long time. A bit of you feels that you’re leaving them down. But I have to make a decision for myself and I feel I’ve made the right decision for now. Whatever comes down the road, we’ll see but this is the way it has to be for the moment.”
Kavanagh came to prominence at schools’ level with famed football academy, St Jarlath’s of Tuam, although he has been wearing the Kildare jersey since under-14 level. At just 19, he was a member of the 2004 Leinster U21-winning side captained by Andriú Mac Lochlainn, who also departs the scene this year.
He made his senior championship debut the following season as a substitute against Wicklow, and after another substitute’s appearance in the heavy defeat by Laois, was handed his first start by Padraig Nolan in the 2005 qualifier defeat to Sligo at Markievicz Park.