Kerry defender Peter Crowley has retired from inter-county football.
Crowley was a member of the Kerry panel for the past 10 seasons, but has decided to call time on his involvement with Kerry ahead of the 2021 season throwing-in.
It is believed that it was a combination of previous injury struggles and his work commitments as a pharmacist that made up Crowley’s mind to retire from inter-county football, despite the fact that he does not turn 31 until the end of May.
Crowley’s departure means manager Peter Keane will have to find a new face for the number six shirt for the upcoming League and Championship as the Laune Rangers clubman had been a mainstay of the Kerry defence upon his return to inter-county action last autumn — he started the county’s two outstanding Division 1 Allianz League fixtures and the extra-time Munster semi-final defeat to Cork.
Those appearances were Crowley’s first in a Kerry shirt since the 2019 Allianz League Division 1 final. A cruciate ligament tear while on club duty in the weeks following the League final loss meant the defender missed the entire 2019 All-Ireland championship campaign and Kerry’s 2020 Allianz League games pre-Covid.
Crowley is the fourth Kerry footballer to retire this year, following fellow defenders Shane Enright, Jonathan Lyne, and goalkeeper Brian Kelly who exited the Kingdom set-up at the beginning of January.
Speaking to this newspaper last September about his return from the aforementioned cruciate injury, Crowley outlined his motivation to get back on the field.
“Winning is the only reason you come back. I didn’t go through 15 months of not playing… you just want to win,” he remarked.
“This summer has been great. Training with Mid Kerry, the talent is really top notch. Again, it is just moving up through the levels. First, get back to the club, now the county championship, and when this finishes, it will be getting back in with the county and making sure I get up to the required level I know I can get up to.” Prior to resuming his place in the Kerry defence last October, the 30-year-old was at the heart of the Mid Kerry rearguard that weaved a path to the county championship decider. They came unstuck in the final, however, against a David Clifford inspired East Kerry.
Crowley joined the Kerry panel in 2011, making his league debut under Jack O’Connor that spring. Championship involvement would come a year later, with the Killorglin pharmacist serving in the half-back line on the afternoon Kerry won the 2014 All-Ireland SFC. He was named at centre-back on the All-Star team later that year.
During his 10 seasons in the green and gold shirt, Crowley won seven Munster SFC medals and two Allianz League titles, in 2017 and 2020. He won a Sigerson Cup with UCC, as well as a Cork SFC medal in 2011.
Kerry will play Dublin, Galway, and Roscommon in Division 1 South of the League. In the championship, Peter Keane’s side have been drawn against Clare in the quarter-final. The winner of this fixture will progress to meet reigning provincial champions Tipperary in the semi-final.