KERRY FORWARD DONNCHADH Walsh has announced his retirement from the inter-county game at the age of 34.
The 2015 All-Star made his debut under Páidí Ó Sé in 2003 but didn’t properly make his breakthrough until 2008.
He went on to win three All-Irelands, eight Munster titles and two Division 1 crowns with the county. A hard-working half-forward, Walsh struggled with injuries this season and made just one championship appearance – against Galway in the Super 8s.
Walsh follows Kieran Donaghy out the Kingdom exit door as the county prepares for the appointment of a new manager in the coming weeks.
Announcing his retirement via his club Cromane’s Facebook page, he said: “For the last 15 years, I have devoted my life to the Kerry senior football team.
“The greatest honour I ever could’ve imagined has been pulling on the green and gold jersey but, as with all good things, it must come to an end. That end has arrived.
“I am retiring from Kerry inter-county football with a lifetime of memories. I first played for Kerry as a minor two days after my 17th birthday back in 2001, and apart from a brief period where I had to knuckle down in my early 20s, I have been on the juggernaut that is the life of a Kerry footballer ever since. I cherished every second because it’s all I ever wanted to do.
“But now, it’s time for me to step aside. I wish the new Kerry senior football manager the very best of luck and encourage all my former teammates to do what it takes to get Kerry back to the top. The memories will be worth it.
“My club, Réalt na Mara, An Cromán, have supported me to the hilt on the entirety of this journey. There is no greater feeling than representing your own people and I hope I’ve done so with heart, dignity and determination.
“Although a small club we have managed to produce two inter-county footballers for Kerry over the last 15 years, something we take great pride in. On my league debut for Kerry, back in March 2003, when Páidí Ó Sé gave me my first taste of senior Kerry football, Seán O’Sullivan and I made up two-thirds of the half forward line.
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“To have two men from the club line out for Kerry was a great honour for Cromane and a testament to our club’s officials and coaches.
“To all the members of Cromane GAA Club: thank you so much for nurturing and encouraging me. While it’s the end of an era retiring from Kerry, it’s something of a rebirth for me with the club.
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“I was reared about 10 metres from Cromane GAA pitch and it has been close to my heart since I could raise my foot and kick a ball. I look forward to kicking many more balls there in the years to come.
“I would like to thank my family and friends for always being there through thick and thin. I’d like to especially thank all my coaches and team-mates that I played with, and for, throughout my development and career including my school, the Intermediate School Killorglin (ISK); my divisional GAA board, Mid Kerry; my colleges, UCC and RCSI, and Kerry underage teams.
“Finally, to the many passionate Kerry supporters, young and old, that I have met the length and breadth of the county and country, I would like to thank you for your fervent support throughout my time in the green and gold. I now hope to become one of you, as I cheer on my heroes from the terraces of Austin Stack Park and Fitzgerald Stadium.”
His former Kerry team-mates Tomás Ó Sé and Kieran Donaghy were among those to pay tribute to Walsh on Twitter.
I marked this man more than any other in my time with @Kerry_Official what a complete pro, great attitude, temperament and footballer. No one bettered his workrate. Jesus we used go on some tours of Fitzgerald stadium!!! Enjoy retirement @DonnchadhWalsh pic.twitter.com/QNEzfG0aOM
— Tomás Ó Sé (@tomas5ky) September 21, 2018
Well done buddy. Fittest player I ever played with, the ultimate pro, some man to stick a one on one, great teammate, some craic on the lash, serious club man. Never left an ounce out in that pitch, 100% everytime. Enjoy the next chapter big man @BalanceExpo @DonnchadhWalsh 👏🏻
— Kieran Donaghy (@starryboy14) September 21, 2018
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