THE Kildare senior footballers have been hit with a major blow with confirmation that James Kavanagh has decided to opt out for personal reasons, writes Tommy Callaghan.
Rumours have been circulating for some time that the Ballymore Eustace man may be on the move to Galway (where he is presently building a house) but this has not been comfirmed.
Meanwhile the senior squad find themselves in action in the opening round of the 2013 Bord na Móna O’Byrne Cup this Sunday.
Kildare are in Group D of a four group league section that includes Carlow IT; DIT and Wexford.
The Lilies open their campaign with a home game against Carlow IT at St. Conleth’s Park on Sunday (2pm throw-in) and then face DIT, probably in Athy, on Wednesday 9 (7.30pm) while their final game in the group section is a home clash against Wexford, back in St Conleth’s Park on Sunday. January 13 with a 2pm throw-in.
The semi finals of the annual competition which assists the Leinster GAA Benevolent fund, is scheduled for Sunday, January 20 with the final a week later on 27 January.
Kildare are due to open their AFL campaign with a ‘home’ game against Donegal in Croke Park on Sunday 3 February.
So all in all a very busy time over the next number of weeks but nevertheless gives Kieran McGeeney, Damian Hendy and the newly appointed coach, Jason Ryan, a great opportunity to assess fitness levels and form prior to taking on the All Ireland champions.
Meanwhile Gary ‘Chalky’ White has returned to the panel for 2013. It was initially understood the Sarsfields man was heading overseas with the Defence Forces but a change of plan sees him rejoin the squad.
Among the new editions to link up with the panel are Conor Mellett (Naas), Cathal McNally (Johnstownbridge), James Eaton (Athy) and Willie Groome (Carbury), while the likes of Andrew McLoughlin, Paddy Dunne, Karl Ennis, Ciaran Kelly, Tommy O’Neill and Des Lawlor are no longer involved.