There was a slight raising of eyebrows in the Kingdom last night as it emerged that 2015 All-Star goalkeeper Brendan Kealy has opted to step away from the Kerry squad, although he has not closed the door on a return at a later date.
Kealy (31) held discussions with manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice, in which it is believed the Kilcummin clubman expressed his disappointment at a lack of game time in this year’s championship.
Kealy rotated the goalkeeping gloves with Brian Kelly through the league and was between the posts when Kerry ended the Dubs’ long, unbeaten run in the final in April. However, when it came to the Munster championship Kelly got the nod against Clare and Cork, doing nothing wrong on both occasions.
Earlier this season, Fitzmaurice had publicly indicated that he planned to introduce a third ‘keeper to the Kerry panel after the Munster final but refused to go into any more detail.
On Tuesday night, two young keepers, Shane Ryan ( Rathmore) and Shane Murphy (Dr Crokes), took part in Kerry senior training for the first time and they will now battle it out to see who will wear the No 16 shirt as cover for Kelly.
Until recently Ryan had rarely lined out in goal for Rathmore, playing in the full-forward line instead, but he has won two All-Ireland minor medals with Kerry as well as being their U-21 ‘keeper.
Murphy, who has played minor and U-21 with Kerry, was the Dr Crokes goalkeeper who this year helped them win the coveted All-Ireland senior club title in March.