Colm Cooper saves a pleasant surprise for the end of his retirement statement
We thought he was walking away as a winner, but Colm Cooper is not done yet.
'The Gooch' is now a former inter-county player. He has played his last game for Kerry and will now join the tens of thousands of supporters that live and breathe their quest for Sam Maguire each summer.
He can no longer influence events on the pitch but he will do his part from the stands.
This morning, the news of Cooper's retirement from the inter-county game was confirmed.
Perfectly understandable https://t.co/FkVUJIPSnV
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) April 4, 2017
We should hear from the 33-year-old in the coming days but, for now, we will have to settle for his poignant statement.
It's an absolutely beauty - as classy and humble as you'd expect for a man who has given his all for the Kerry cause. It also contains a pleasant surprise for the Dr Croke's supporters that, only last month, were cheering him on after his 1-2 in their All-Ireland Club Championship victory.
Here is the statement in full:
'Today I wish to announce my retirement from the Kerry Senior Football team. It has been an amazing journey and one that I never wanted to end, however, I feel that this is the right time for me step away from inter county football. Representing the Kingdom for the past 17 years has given me a tremendous amount of pride and satisfaction.
'To my Kerry teammates that I have soldiered with throughout the years, thank you for your guidance, patience and friendship. I feel extremely lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights with you all.
'To get the opportunity to play with, and against, some of the greatest players in the history of the GAA has given me memories that I will always treasure.
'During my career I have been very fortunate to work with some outstanding Kerry managers. They gave me the confidence to develop my game which allowed me to perform at the highest level.
'I would like to thank the Kerry County Board, backroom staff and medical teams for their constant help and support throughout my career.'
He continues: 'A huge thank you to the loyal Kerry fans at home and abroad for their continuous support. I now become a supporter and wish the team all the best in their quest for honours in 2017.
'I would like to thank my club Dr. Crokes for nurturing my talents and giving me the belief that there was no limit to what I could achieve, also to get the opportunity to Captain Kerry teams is something I’m extremely privileged to have done.
'I’m looking forward to continuing my Dr. Crokes career.
'Finally to my family, without you none of my successes would have been possible. Through the ups and downs, you were the people that believed in me and kept me going. For this I am forever grateful.
'It is very rare for people to achieve their ultimate dreams in life - I just have.'