Dermot Earley still hopes to play club football in 2013 despite losing his battle to return with Kildare.
Earley finally admitted defeat in his bid to get back playing inter-county football at the weekend with his announcement that he was retiring from the game. A back injury sustained earlier this year has ended his chances of a return with Kildare but the two-time all-star still hopes to play with his club, Sarsfields, later this year.
“You can’t just walk away. I’m not like that, I need something to work towards,” said Earley.
“He needs complete rest now but if it comes to pass that he wants to play and he is able to play we’d be thrilled,” said his club manager, John Crofton.
Cruelly for one of the best players to ever don the white of Kildare, Earley had overcome the knee injury that cost him the 2011 and much of the 2012 season and was close to a return for Kieran McGeeney’s team but a back injury picked up in the warm up before the league game against Dublin in Croke Park proved one injury too many.
“It was a tough decision,” said Earley. “To be honest, the last couple of years have been a struggle especially with the problems that I have had with the knee. It’s been a stop-start couple of seasons and it’s hard to always go back to the rehab. I’m 35 in the summer and I had sort of decided at the start of the year that this was going to be my final year but I wanted to give it one hell of a final go. Unfortunately I hurt my back in the warm up at Croker. I didn’t think it was as bad as it turned out to be. Over the two weeks after it got progressively worse and I ended up getting a couple of scans to see what it was and it turned out to be a bulging disc.
“It got to the point where I couldn’t move that well at all. I ended up having surgery and the first one didn’t go so well so I had to go back in for another operation. That was five weeks ago. There is a 12 week rehab just to get back to square one and when you are playing top level GAA you have to be on top of your game. I would have struggled so instead of drawing it out I just decided over the last couple of weeks that time was up,” said Earley.