COLM COOPER ADMITS there may yet be more retirements in the Kerry camp this winter, but he’s glad his intercounty team-mates are taking their time over decisions.
The Dr Crokes talisman was in Dublin yesterday as he was crowned the GAA/GPA Player of the month for September.
The Kingdom will prepare for the 2014 season without Tomás Ó Sé, after his decision to call it a day last month.
“I think we are building anyway,” said Cooper. “Look at the players who came in this year Peter Crowley, Fionn Fitzgerald, Shane Enright played more this year than any season before; they were three guys anyway and James O’Donoghue his first full season so we have introduced four or five players and we are looking at those guys being maybe a little bit more mature next year.
“And I suppose speaking about Tomás and what he has done for Kerry and for football in general he has given everything really and he has had a fantastic career and he has put in huge performances and has never let Kerry down so I don’t think you can have a scenario that let’s replace Tomás.
“Because that’s not going to happen and that’s heaping huge pressure on any young fella who thinks he can so I think you should forget about that and just try to build your team – I wouldn’t be putting anyone into the status of trying to be the next Tomás Ó Sé because invariably that is not going to happen I think.
“I didn’t know [Tomás] was going to announce it. I knew he had a big decision to make whether to stay on for a year or not and I was hoping he might stay on for one more year because he was playing good football and physically he is an amazing man and I don’t think he has ever missed a championship game with injury his body was in good enough shape if he wanted to continue but I suppose from his point of view he felt he wasn’t 100 per cent and Tomás is the type of guy if he is not 100 per cent and going full tilt he probably doesn’t want to be there and that’s a fair enough assessment.
“He is in a good enough position to judge with the career he has had so it’s disappointing because I have soldiered with him for 12 years in a Kerry dressing room and had great times on and off the field and it will be hard to look over where he sat and he won’t be there any more but you move on.”
Asked whether he expects more to follow Ó Sé out the Fitzgerald Stadium gate, Cooper says: “There are always mumblings about what certain person is going to do but I don’t think there is a big rush.
“It’s 14 October today they can leave it til Christmas they can go back play whatever club football they’ve left and have a good think about it and I am glad there haven’t been any rash decisions after the Dublin game because if fellas were to make a decision then I think we all would be retiring.
“I think guys should just take some time out and have a good think about it and weigh up pros and cons and players will know themselves they are very experienced won a lot lost a lot so in a good position to judge whether they have enough in the tank to go again.”