VERSATILE footballer Jonathan Lyne has said he had more or less decided that 2020 was going to be his final year with the Kerry squad and the fact that game time was getting more scarce was a factor in his decision.
The 2014 All-Ireland winner, who is just as accomplished at wing back as he is when lining out at wing forward, said the nature of any sportsman is that they want to be at the centre of the action on big game days.
The Killarney Legion star said the time and commitment required for inter-county football “has gone unbelievable” and it has increased significantly over the last two or three years with players having to attend the gym, training, physiotherapy sessions and meetings, outside of games.
Although he is still only 30 years of age, Jonathan reckons the days when players like Tomás Ó Sé, Aidan O’Mahony and Marc Ó Sé stay on well into their mid 30s could be numbered and he expects it to become more normal for them to leave the inter county scene behind at an earlier stage.
“Those lads, when they were going into their 30s, were playing a lot of games but it’s different when you’re not in that position. You have to take stock and see if it’s really worth the amount of hours and commitment that you’re putting in,” he said.
“For me, it just got to the stage where I wasn’t sure anymore. You have to be 100 per cent committed. I had always been for the years that I was there and if I wasn’t going to be giving it 100 per cent then it was the right time for me to step away,” the Legion man told Terrace Talk.
Jonathan, who made his championship debut against Clare in 2012, said he thoroughly enjoyed his time playing for Kerry under Jack O’Connor, Eamonn Fitzmaurice and, more recently, Peter Keane, but the competition for places amongst the squad is currently at an all-time high.
“With no guarantees it changes your mindset and, definitely when you’re a bit older it changes how you look at things. You probably become a bit less patient and a little less willing to bide your time,” he said.
And although he said his involvement with Kerry was a really positive experience, the PE teacher believes his retirement from inter-county action is the right decision.
Jonathan will now concentrate on action with his club as will his team-mate Brian Kelly who has also stepped aside from the Kerry scene.
The experienced goalkeeper also acknowledged that the fact that he had played any championship football with the county since 2018 was an issue he had to consider and he wanted more game time.
“The day you are happy on the bench is the day you are in trouble,” he said.
Lyne and Kelly had played together with the club since they were under six years of age but James O’Donoghue will continue to fly the Legion flag at inter-county level
KillarneyToday.com: Your only 24/7 local news service provider. Call 087-2229761