Jack O’Connor pays tribute to James O’Donoghue as he announces end of Kerry career

Former Footballer of the Year has struggled with persistent injuries but will play on for his club

Kerry football manager Jack O’Connor has paid tribute to James O’Donoghue following his retirement from the intercounty game earlier on Tuesday, the 2014 footballer of the year confirming that persistent injury has forced him to step away at age 31, although he will continue to play with his club Killarney Legion.

It was O’Connor who first gave O’Donoghue his Kerry senior debut in 2010, in his previous stint as Kerry manager.

“James was one of the most gifted forwards to ever wear the green and gold,” said O’Connor “He was virtually unmarkable in 2014 when he won player of the year.

“He was a nightmare to mark with his pace, class and his ability to kick scores off either foot. James will be fondly remembered by the Kerry football followers and he has left us all with great memories to cherish.”


Chairman of Kerry GAA, Patrick O’Sullivan, added: “On behalf of Kerry GAA, I wish to congratulate James O’Donoghue on a distinguished career with Kerry. Like his father Diarmuid before him, James played a huge part in a great team.

“James won his first All Star in 2013 and won an All-Ireland in 2014 when Kerry overcame Donegal in the Final. James was named Footballer of the Year in 2014 and collected his second All Star that year after finishing the championship with an impressive 4-24 tally.

“James has been a brilliant servant for Kerry. We wish James well with all his future projects and wish him continued success with the Killarney Legion Club.”

A two-time All Star, O’Donoghue opted out of the Kerry panel in 2021 due to persistent injury, and decided against making any comeback this year due to the ongoing issues around playing at the peak fitness required at intercounty level.