'I'm one lucky hoor': Kieran Donaghy announces his retirement from inter-county football

'I'm one lucky hoor': Kieran Donaghy announces his retirement from inter-county football

Kieran Donaghy has announced his retirement from inter-county football.

The 2006 footballer of the year won four All-Irelands, three League titles and eight Munster titles, as well as three All-Stars.

The 35-year-old announced the news with a poem online, called 'Kerry I thank you...'

He added in a 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."

A talented basketballer, Donaghy also won Player of the Year as Tralee Tigers won the National Cup in 2005.

'I'm one lucky hoor': Kieran Donaghy announces his retirement from inter-county football

He shot to prominence in 2006 with a famous qualifier performance against Longford as a targetman full-forward, alongside Colm Cooper and Mike Frank Russell. He scored 1-2 in that year's final against Mayo and won Footballer of the Year.

'I'm one lucky hoor': Kieran Donaghy announces his retirement from inter-county football

He scored two goals in their 2007 All-Ireland win over Cork, and 1-2 in their 2014 victory over Donegal.

He signed off on his 14-year inter-county career by saying:

"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!’"

Donaghy also represented Ireland in the International Rules Series in 2006, 2008 and 2011, and won Kerry and Munster titles with his club Austin Stacks in 2014. He captained Kerry to a Munster title the following year.

'I'm one lucky hoor': Kieran Donaghy announces his retirement from inter-county football

He continues to play basketball at a high level with Tralee Warriors in the Super League, winning the Champions Trophy with the club in 2017 and 2018.

Former Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice, who also played with Donaghy for three years, called Donaghy a "totemic figure".

"He has been a totemic figure for Kerry since he broke into the team in 2006 and has led from the front since. He bookended his career by re-energising an ailing group in 2006 and inspiring a new group in 2018.

"Kieran came on the scene as a rangy midfielder, was converted with huge success into a target man full forward and has embraced a variety of roles on the team since. His physical attributes and basketball background meant he was outstanding as the fulcrum of the attack.

'I'm one lucky hoor': Kieran Donaghy announces his retirement from inter-county football

"His biggest asset, however, is undoubtedly his personality coupled with an unmatched energy. His will to win and determination to succeed are what make him different.

"He overcame plenty of disappointments to come back better and stronger. A snapshot of the 2014 season epitomised his resilience where he failed to see game time in the All Ireland quarter final but ended up absolutely central to that All Ireland win."

He also tipped Donaghy as a potential Kerry manager.

"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."

'I'm one lucky hoor': Kieran Donaghy announces his retirement from inter-county football

Their teammate Marc Ó Sé called Donaghy "the best teammate I ever had bar none".

He added: "The ultimate team player. Never gave up. Was never beaten. And he was some craic in the dressing room as well. Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís!"

His statement in full read:

"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.

'I'm one lucky hoor': Kieran Donaghy announces his retirement from inter-county football

"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.

'I'm one lucky hoor': Kieran Donaghy announces his retirement from inter-county football

"A huge thank you to the loyal Kerry fans who travelled 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.

'I'm one lucky hoor': Kieran Donaghy announces his retirement from inter-county football

"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!’"

'I'm one lucky hoor': Kieran Donaghy announces his retirement from inter-county football

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