Despite ‘corrective work’ on his knees Declan O’Sullivan retires aged 30
The tributes have flooded in for the Kerry attacker who has won every intercounty honour available
Declan O’Sullivan will continue his club career but says it would be impossible to play on for Kerry. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
All Ireland Semi Final 2007 Dublin vs Kerry. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Kerry All-Star award winners 2009. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Inpho
All Ireland Football Final Kerry vs Mayo 2004. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
The Kerry manager Jack O’Connor congratulates team captain Declan O’Sullivan after the presentation of the Sam Maguire trophy in Croke Park 2006. Photograph: Irish Times
Captain Declan O’Sullivan is mobbed by adoring fans moments after Kerry won the All Ireland against Cork 2007. Photograph: Kate Geraghty/Irish Times
Declan O’Sullivan has announced his inter-county retirement although thanks to some “corrective work” on his knees he will be able to continue his club career for a number of years to come.
This morning Kerry GAA announced that the 30-year-old who struggled throughout this year’s championship with ongoing knee injuries, will not line out with the All-Ireland champions in the 2015 season.
The Dromid Pearses club man departs the county scene having won every honour available to him with his beloved Kerry during a senior inter-county career that stretches back to 2003.
O’Sullivan himself added that despite the difficulty in coming to the decision he feels that this is the right time.
“Unfortunately, due to some long-standing injuries, it would be impossible for me to physically compete at the required level in 2015. Hopefully, after a long rest and some corrective work on my knees, I will be able to enjoy playing with my club for a number of years to come.”
Consecutive All Stars
Having made his championship debut against Tipperary in 2003, O’Sullivan has the distinction of being one of only 8 players to lift the Sam Maguire more than once following in the footsteps of fellow Kerrymen such as Dick Fitzgerald, John Joe Sheehy and Joe Barrett.
In all he made 70 Championship appearances for Kerry, the last of which was in the recent All Ireland defeat of Donegal when he was introduced as a second half sub to win his fifth Celtic Cross. He won three consecutive GAA All Stars between 2007 and 2009.
Though plagued with injury this year, often lining out despite heavy strapping to both knees, he still played a key role in Kerry’s championship success .
A Kerry GAA statement released today read that “ few will forget his display in the Munster final defeat of Cork in Pairc Ui Chaoimh in July. Declan has the distinction of lining out in every position in the forward line for Kerry in senior championship. On the Club scene he was no less successful winning County and Munster Junior medals and four senior county championship titles with divisional side South Kerry.”
A stubborn streak
Kerry Manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice was one of the first to pay tribute to the five times All-Ireland Medal winner.
“His honesty, the warrior like way he leads by example and his innate football ability meant his team mates loved him. He also has a stubborn streak that meant he always fought his corner obstinately, be it in an argument or to win a breaking ball that might turn a game.
“His display in the Munster final was one of the great performances. He was always excellent at reading what a game required and delivering that.”
Former Kerry Manager Jack O’Connor also joined in on the tributes;
“He will go down as one of the truly great Kerry players and as well as the contribution he made to the County, he was also a great clubman with both Dromid Pearses and South Kerry as well as with his School, Colaiste na Sceilge.
“He was a fantastic player, even at a very young age and one of the great Kerry forwards of all time – there’s no question about that”
A huge loss
Patrick O’Sullivan, Chairman of Kerry County Committee added that “as Kerry people we all owe Declan O’Sullivan a great debt of gratitude for the outstanding service he has given to the county in a career that stretches way back to his Minor days in 2001.
“Declan will be a huge loss to the Kerry setup, both as a player on the field of play and on the training field and in the dressing room where his leadership qualities were never more evident than in this year’s championship campaign where he nurtured the younger players around him.
“To Declan, and his family Michelle, Ollie and Robbie, I extend a sincere thank you on behalf of the Gaels of Kerry.”