Kildare dealt a blow as former Aussie Rules player steps away from county panel

Kildare midfielder Seán Hurley has stepped away from the county panel to focus on recovering from a hip injury that has plagued his progress since he returned from Australia at the end of 2016.

Kildare manager Cian O’Neill had hoped to give Hurley some game time in the National League, but his recovery from surgery on his hip has encountered numerous setbacks as he has suffered recurring injuries to different parts of his body since returning to the Kildare panel.

Having returned from a two-year stint at Aussie Rules side Fremantle, Hurley played one championship match for Johnstownbridge at the end of their 2016 campaign, but he was restricted to just a handful of minutes in the O’Byrne Cup win over Longford earlier in January as he sought to return to intercounty football.

“This will allow Seán to focus solely on the health of his hip first and foremost before he considers his next step in terms of returning to play football at any level, not to mind at elite intercounty level,” said manager Cian O’Neill in a statement.

“Seán has had a tough few years with various injuries, particularly in Australia during his time with Fremantle, and while it would have been fantastic for Seán and indeed for Kildare Football if his ‘return to play’ was immediate, this was never going to be the case.

“Unfortunately, his most recent hip surgery, and all the difficulties that are part of a rehabilitation programme following such a serious injury, have taken their toll on Seán and his body so the priority now has to be his basic health and functionality.

“This has been a very frustrating period for him as he has been trying to get back on the pitch and perform to the best of his abilities but several small setbacks (such as Achilles tendon and quad tightness) have delayed this full return to play as he has been pushing himself every week, particularly when he sees the great camaraderie in the squad and how well they are performing.

“Seán is still a very young man and has plenty of time to play football provided his body is healthy and allows him to do so. I look forward to chatting to him regularly in the coming weeks and months as he keeps me updated on his progress.”