The Kerry squad’s last link to their 2006 and 2007 All-Ireland successes has been broken with the retirement of Killian Young.
The Renard man, who featured on the bench towards the end of this year’s All-Ireland SFC after recovering from an ankle injury, brought the curtain down on his 14-year senior inter-county career yesterday.
Four-time All-Ireland winner Young made his debut under Jack O’Connor in 2006 and also claimed nine Munster titles as well as being crowned young footballer of the year in 2007.
In a statement published on the Kerry website, the 32-year-old explained: “Today, I announce my retirement from the Kerry senior football team. After 14 years of representing my county at senior level, the time has come for me to move on to the next chapter. To say it was an honour to play with Kerry is an understatement, I’ve loved every single minute of it and if I could roll back the years and do it all again, I would in a heartbeat.
I’d like to thank my parents for their ongoing support since I was first able to kick a ball. They are fiercely loyal and have always been a massive influence in my life.
"My sister Caoimhe, my extended family and all my friends who have followed me around the country to games, I will never forget that and will always be so grateful.
“To my fiancée, Catriona, thanks for always being there. And for all the love, support and encouragement you have given me throughout the years and the sacrifices you made to help me in my career with Kerry. I really look forward to what the future holds for us and to all the adventures ahead. Also, to my Lixnaw family who treat me as one of their own, thanks for everything.
“To my GAA club Renard. I wouldn’t have had the success I’ve had without the coaching, development and constant support received from those in my club from a young age. Each one of you contributed hugely to my career and allowed me one of the highlights of my life so far - bringing Sam Maguire down Renard Road and into our clubhouse. For those memories, I will always be indebted to you.
“I am looking forward to giving you my full commitment going forward and want to thank you sincerely for your loyalty and patience throughout the years. I hope I have represented our club with honour and have made all of you proud.”
Young continued to thank the Kerry County Board, sponsor Kerry Group, supporters, backroom team members and managers.
He finished with a nod to his colleagues: “Finally, to my Kerry teammates past and present, thank you for the wonderful memories.
We have created memories together that can never be taken away and can only be understood by us. It has been the best time of my life playing with Kerry and I will take all of the cherished memories and friendships away with me.
“Continued success to the great bunch of players that I am leaving behind, and I am so proud to have shared a dressing room with you. Ciarraí abú.”
Kerry manager Peter Keane hailed Young’s knowledge and experience as “invaluable” having followed the career of his “neighbour’s child” from the outset. Éamonn Fitzmaurice regarded him as “Mr Dependable” and “a leader” while his former teacher and man who gave him his Kerry senior debut, Jack O’Connor commended his “raw pace” and reading of the game.