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Is Kieran Donaghy's Return To Form All Down To His Return To Basketball?

Is Kieran Donaghy's Return To Form All Down To His Return To Basketball?

At half-time in Sunday's All-Ireland quarter-final between Kerry and Galway, The Sunday Game panel were raving about the influence of Kieran Donaghy.

The Kerry full-forward had scored 1-01 in the first-half in a brilliant performance, causing havoc in the Galway full-back line. Colm O'Rourke openly wondered how Donaghy had returned to his best, at the age of 34.

It does look like Donaghy's footwork has improved a bit this year. It's definitely better. He looks like a fella dance classes, or a bit of aerobics or something like that. He's lighter on his feet.

It turns out it was nothing to do with dancing or aerobic, Donaghy just returned to his first love.

Writing in Tuesday's Irish Examiner, Mike Quirke (a former Kerry teammate of Donaghy), said a return to basketball had rejuvenated the full-forward's career.

As soon as the basketball season concluded with Tralee, Donaghy waltzed over to Killarney and in one training session showed Eamon Fitzmaurice enough to book his place as the last sub on the panel for the National League final against Dublin in Croke Park...

And against Cork in the Munster final and particularly during the first half against Galway last Sunday, it was obvious why Fitzmaurice wanted to get him involved straight away.

Donaghy’s movement to be able to create separation from his marker, or two markers on occasions, was brilliant. He has seemingly transferred that basketball agility onto the football pitch with him.

His contested catching over his head was just as impressive. I know it’s a fairly primitive tactic, to just lump the ball on top of the biggest guy on the pitch, but when he’s winning it, primitive can be beautiful.

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For Kerry, primitive is proving to be very useful. The Donaghy that was on show on Sunday afternoon was reminiscent to the one the terrified defences 11 years ago.

In 2006, he won his first All-Ireland title, his first All-Star award and was the Footballer of the Year.

Donaghy has a long way to go to match that feat in 2017, but as Quirke alluded to in the Irish Examiner; "If Donaghy throws in another performance like last weekend, the basketball clubs of Ireland will be packed for the winter with footballers seeking an alternative route to the top of the football mountain."

SEE ALSO: This Is How Much Basketball Means To Kieran Donaghy

 

Daniel Kelly

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