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How Kerry Career Ended Still Rankles With Russell

27 April 2008; Mike Frank Russell, Kerry. Allianz National Football League, Division 1 Final, Kerry v Derry, Parnell Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Mike Frank Russell says it still hurts that his Kerry career ended far earlier than he would have liked.

The five-time All-Ireland winner last played for Kerry in the 2009 National League, coming on as a sub in a victory over Derry during what was current Kingdom manager Jack O'Connor's second stint in charge.

"My Kerry career ended fairly abruptly," Russell told his former Kerry teammate Tomás Ó Sé's Comhrá le Tomás podcast.

"I'm not here to make excuses or rant. I wasn't happy. I was 31, which I felt was quite young.

"It was the middle of '09 [when I finished with Kerry]. I won't go into details. It still sticks in my craw really. I was up at the 2011 All-Ireland and I felt, 'I still think Kerry missed a trick here. I could be offering something off the bench'. Look, it is what it is.

"You look, you were there from 19 - 31, so you can't be too greedy. You won five All-Ireland medals. I suppose the carpet was pulled from under you a small bit and you feel 'there's definitely two or three more years here'.

"I still had great times and wouldn't regret it for the world. It's still a thing I haven't got over. Of the noughties team, I was probably the fella who didn't get to say my goodbyes. That's football, I'm not here to cry."


28 September 1997; Kerry Captain Liam Hassett celebrates with team-mate Mike Frank Russell following the GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Final math between Kerry and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

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Russell said the "flipside" of his Kerry career ending early was still being able to play well for his club Laune Rangers.


"I was able to give the club three or four very good years," he said.

"We were still in Division 1 and we got to a semi-final of the county championship in 2012. I felt I played well for three or four years in the county championship and gave them a few good years back. You missed a few years with them because you were with Kerry."

Russell is now in his mid-40s and still playing senior B club football. That longevity may be partially down to never consuming alcohol or smoking.


"I always loved football," he said.

"I love reading about it. I love playing it, love watching it, but maybe sometimes I became too consumed with it and maybe didn't enjoy the wins enough - you were wondering about the next game.

"When you look back at it, maybe I should have enjoyed it a bit more - the wins. I didn't drink or smoke. [My father] often used say to me 'stay away from the pubs'. I probably went too far with it by drinking nothing. I was afraid I wouldn't make it. Probably good advice. That probably drove me a bit too.


"There were great times. We got great trips and holidays out of it, and great fun. I didn't take alcohol but I'd still be falling down laughing at what was going on."

See Also: Kerry Legend Wants Change To Kingdom's Top Tier Football Competition



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