KILDARE senior footballers have been hit with a major blow with the news that Gary ‘Chalky’ White has been forced to opt out of the senior squad due to an impending overseas tour of duty with the Defence Forces, writes Tommy Callaghan.
The popular Sarsfields man is an officer in the army and is due to head off on a six month tour of duty to the Lebanon in early May and as a result has decided to take himself off the Kildare panel forthwith.
It is a major blow both for Kieran McGeeney’s plans for 2013 and indeed for Sarsfields boss John Crofton as the, latter bids to lead Sarsfields to back-to-back senior titles.
White, pictured far right, played on Saturday for Sarsfields in the opening round of the Aldridge Cup against Naas, scoring 1-1 in a six point win.
Last year may not have been the army man’s best season with the county seniors, due to limited opportunities, but he has been one of McGeeney’s main men in the opening seven games of 2013.
In fact after the recent victory over Cork Kieran McGeeney went out of his way to single out the midfielder for his display.
“Gary is my type of player, he is good at what he does; he is able to see things happen before they happen and make the big tackles; he is never afraid to go for the ball and will put his head in where no one else will.”
The army officer has been ever present with Kildare from the start of the 2013 season, lining out in every game in the O’Byrne Cup at midfield and also performing with distinction against both Donegal and Cork in the opening rounds of the Allianz Football League, captaining the Lilies in that great win over the All Ireland champions, Donegal, just a few short weeks ago.
His absence is without question a major blow to The Lilies hopes of 2013.