Colm Cooper has his say on his Kerry future, Tiger Woods, Federer and trying to close the gap on Dublin

Five-time All-Ireland winner speaks to Off The Ball

BY Raf Diallo 20:30 Tuesday 11 October 2016, 20:30 11 Oct 2016

Kerry’s Colm Cooper ©INPHO/James Crombie

Colm Cooper has confirmed that he won't make a decision on his Kerry future until after his club championship commitments with Dr Crokes are over.

There had been rumours swirling that the Kingdom great was planning to call it a day, although those reports proved premature.

Speaking to Off The Ball, the 33-year-old said he had been taken by surprise by the way the rumours spread.

"It's funny. I finished training with Dr Crokes last Tuesday night and came out to the phone in my car and there were 20 notifications saying that I had retired. So that was quite interesting," he said. 

"And the week before was that I was definitely staying on so it's funny how these things come out." 

After an injury-ravaged 2014 and 2015, he also admitted that 2016 saw him trust his body fully again.

"My body was in better shape. Physically, I felt much stronger," he said.

Cooper also spoke about how long it took for him to take up a vocal leadership role within the panel after bursting onto the scene.

"We had so many decorated and experienced people. Like, I was playing with Seamus Moynihan, Darragh O'Se, Dara O'Cinneide... I'm not going to tell them we need to call a players' meeting and I'm going to take charge of it. We had enough big characters at that stage. But I would certainly say I learned so much from them and how much Kerry football means to them," he said.

"I took that on board and probably helped shape me a little bit because maybe I wasn't that competitive before. Maybe having seen these guys in action, it taught me a little bit of how competitive I needed to get."

On the All-Ireland semi-final loss to eventual champions Dublin which saw the Dubs claw back a deficit to win by two points, Cooper felt they "made more of their possession".

As for future battles with the Dubs, he believes the gap can be closed with new blood joining the Kerry senior ranks - although he expects Dublin to be stronger than this year with the probable return of Jack McCaffrey and Rory O'Carroll. 

Plus, he discussed the athletes he has admired over the years, citing Paul O'Connell, Brian O'Driscoll and Padraig Harrington as the ones from Ireland that jump out to him, as well as Tiger Woods and "the elegant, never flustered" Roger Federer globally. 

"They're the kind of guys I looked up to and still do," he said.

"The big thing for me as well is that they've had to change and adapt in their careers which is something I've had to do as well."

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