Kildare footballer Donnelly announces retirement

Kildare footballer Donnelly announces retirement

Ken Donnelly has announced his retirement from the Kildare senior football squad, after a 10-year inter-county career blighted by injuries.

The Ellistown clubman has opted off the Lilywhites panel having failed to fully recover from a serious knee injury.

Donnelly is one of a number of players who have suffered cruciate injuries, with fellow Kildare players Dermot Earley (twice), Mikey Conway, Peter Kelly and Rob Kelly all on the treatment table as a result of torn cruciates in recent years.

Earley made a long-awaited return to action last Friday night in a challenge game for Kildare against Waterford and subsequently lined out for the Lilywhites in their Division 2 victory over Derry in Newbridge.

However, progress with Donnelly's recovery has been slow and in a statement issued through Kildare team liaison officer Morgan O'Callghan today, the 32-year old's retirement was confirmed.

"Kildare senior footballer Ken Donnelly has this week announced his retirement from inter-county football," the statement read.

"The 32-year-old Donnelly battled back from a cruciate ligament injury that he sustained in 2010, missing the entire 2011 season, to play a part in this year’s O’Byrne Cup and the second round of the Allianz Football League against Monaghan.

"(He) has now decided that the wear and tear on his knee over the course of his 10-year career with the Kildare seniors is not enabling him to play or train at the required level.

"Donnelly considered retirement at the end of 2011 having missed the entire inter-county season, following his 2010 cruciate ligament injury and a subsequent cartilage operation that was required in the middle of the year, but having assisted his club Ellistown to reach the county intermediate final, he decided to give Kildare one further year.

"He trained hard in pre-season, but as the league campaign has progressed, he has found it very difficult to train at the required level each week and as a result he met with Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney earlier this week and advised him of his decision to retire from inter-county football with immediate effect."

The statement continued: "The stiffness in his knee simply did not allow him to train at the required level every Tuesday and Thursday to put himself into contention to play at the weekend.

"After lengthy consideration he felt it was best to end his career rather than try to struggle through with constant stiffness and pain in the knee knowing that his body simply would not allow him to get back to the level he was at prior to the cruciate ligament injury. Donnelly will continue to play with his club Ellistown."

The talented forward made his first Senior Championship appearance for Kildare in 2003 against Longford, and featured in the Lilywhites' loss to Laois in the Leinster final that July.

Donnelly scored three first half points in Kildare's 2009 Leinster final loss to Dublin and featured regularly in the starting fifteen since current manager McGeeney took over in 2008.

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