Feely: There's been loads of ups and downs but it hasn't affected Kildare desire
Kevin Feely maintains it would be "unfair" to ask Daniel Flynn to return to the Kildare panel in advance of their Leinster SFC campaign insisting that it's "not feasible" that the recent All Star nominee play for his county this summer.
Flynn has returned to Ireland after a stint in America and resumed studying for a Masters in accounting in Maynooth University having briefly put his studies on the back burner.
For that reason, Feely says, the commitment demanded by both inter-county football and academia are not compatible.
"It would be a little bit unfair to be asking him back," Feely told the Herald.
"Given the time he missed being away from his masters, he has a ridiculous amount to catch up on.
"Even from speaking with Paddy Brophy who was in college with him, he was saying that if he had the work load that Daniel now has to catch up on, there's not a hope he could be able to play inter-county football.
"Obviously we'd absolutely love to have him there," the Athy man added, "but everybody understands the situation he's in. If we do have him, that’d be unbelievable.”
"But everybody's realistic enough. It's probably not feasible at the moment."
Kildare begin their Championship 2019 campaign against Wicklow on Saturday week, a match too similar in billing to last year's ill-fated opener against Carlow for Feely's team to treat with anything other than the utmost wariness.
Captain Eoin Doyle is nursing his way back from a hamstring injury while fellow defender Kevin Flynn limped out of Celbridge's 0-13 to 0-11 first-round victory over Maynooth on Saturday night and is similarly doubtful.
Feely is optimistic about Doyle making the Wicklow game but he's not inclined to mull too much over missing players.
"There's a lot of new lads in the group now who wouldn't have been part of last year's nightmare," he pointed out.
"But for everyone else, that's fresh in everyone's head.
"It's more the case of can we handle the pressure is now on us to not let that happen again. It's not a case of taking anything for granted.
"It's more a case of can we manage our performance."
A failure to win immediate promotion back to Division 1 has muted the giddy talk of Leinster titles that has followed Kildare into recent summers.
The presence of Dublin in a likely semi-final is one very obvious reason for that but Feely says Kildare's inclination is to avoid all thoughts of playing Leinster's perennials winners until such time as the meeting is guaranteed.
"They haven't been prominent because they haven't been direct opposition yet this year," he reaons.
"We're obviously aware that they're on our side of the draw for this year.
"But I think we probably made a mistake with that in 2016.
"We were expecting to play Dublin in the semis…we started trying to implement a system to beat them and then tripped up against Westmeath in the quarter-finals.
"So I don't think thinking that far ahead suits us. All we can do is think of Wicklow.
"And Carlow last year is the evidence that you can't get ahead of ourselves."
"Setting goals is probably…it's very difficult," Feely, who played professionally for Charlton Athletic and Newport County between 2012 and '15, outlines.
" Everyone has their individual goals and everyone wants to win a Leinster title and an All-Ireland. There's no point in even going into a room and asking that. You know the answer is 'yes'.
"But now, the goal is to beat Wicklow."
This will be Feely's fourth summer back in Kildare and despite having to abandon his ambitions in England, he insists his return has been "everything I thought and hoped it would be."
"The enjoyment I've gotten from playing for Kildare is more than anything I've had before.
"There has been loads of ups and downs in the last four years. But it hasn't affected my desire to achieve as much as I can with Kildare before I finish."