Sports Update: Kerry legend Donaghy announces his inter-county retirement

The 35-year-old confirmed the news this morning.

KIERAN DONAGHY HAS announced his retirement from inter-county football, drawing the curtain on an illustrious 14-year career with Kerry. 

Kieran Donaghy with his daughter Lola Rose
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The 35-year-old won four senior All-Ireland titles with the Kingdom and was named Footballer of the Year in 2006, while he picked up three All-Stars.

Donaghy confirmed his decision with a statement on the Kerry GAA website this morning, adding that his career “surpassed even my wildest dreams”.

A little poem for ye. Thanks for everything @Kerry_Official pic.twitter.com/WIxl985gkL

Former Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice, who played alongside and later managed Donaghy, described the Austin Stacks man as “a totemic figure for Kerry since he broke into the team in 2006 and has lead from the front since.”

Fitzmaurice said: “He book ended his career by re-energising an ailing group in 2006 and inspiring a new group in 2018.  

“He has the personality to go into management. He is the ultimate team player, has a strong appreciation of the team dynamic, possesses a great tactical understanding of the game and most importantly is brimming with ideas. I can definitely see him successfully managing Kerry teams in the future.”

Kerry county board chairman Tim Murphy also paid tribute to Donaghy, calling him “one of Kerry’s greatest servants.”

Kieran Donaghy
Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

 Kieran Donaghy’s statement

“Today I wish to announce my retirement from the Kerry Senior Football team. The journey has been full of ups and downs but I never wanted it to end. It has surpassed even my wildest dreams, that a basketball kid from Tralee would end up playing 69 times in the championship over a 14 year period for the famous Green and Gold.

“To every one of my Kerry teammates who I was lucky enough to have played with, I thank you for your patience, help and advice during those years. I’m blessed to have had the time of my life with you boys fighting on my back trying to win games for Kerry. We had some tough times, such is life but the wonderful stories and memories we shared will stick with me forever.

“To get the opportunity to soldier with and against some of the greatest players of all time is something I will always treasure.

“During my career I have been lucky enough to work with some great Kerry managers and their respective management teams. They took a chance on me, believed in me in massive high-pressure situations. They gave me the confidence to develop my game which allowed me to perform on the biggest of occasions for Kerry .

“I would like to thank the Kerry County Board along with our sponsors Kerry Group, backroom staff and medical teams for their constant help and guidance throughout my career. Your unbelievable work is not seen by many but it’s massively appreciated by the team and by me.

“A huge thank you to the loyal Kerry fans who traveled far and wide to watch and support us. We love football in this county and while there is a pressure to perform we always embrace it. We need to get behind this young team we will have next year, so get the flags out and get to the games to support the boys.

“I would also like to thank all the supporters who live abroad but continue their love and support of Kerry.

“I would like to thank my club Austin Stacks, everything I achieved is a direct result of the help and guidance ye gave me from an early age. To represent this great club is always a massive privilege and our county championship win in 2014 gave me the ultimate honour the following season. To be captain of a county like Kerry is something I’m extremely proud to have accomplished.

“To my family, without you none of this would have been possible. Mom, I am forever grateful to you for believing in me and showing me how to be a good person first and foremost.

“To my wife Hilary, you’re all that I could ask for, thank you so much for always putting me first during my career , we have had so many wonderful experiences together throughout this journey and made life long friends along the way I can’t wait to start the next exciting chapter together with Lola-Rose & Indie.

“To the rest of my family, thank you for your support and always having my back.

“I’m a proud Kerry man and to have represented this county meant absolutely everything to me. As the great John B Keane once said, ‘I’m one lucky hoor!’”

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