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11th Sep 2018

Kieran Donaghy retires from Kerry with beautiful poem

Conan Doherty

Thank you, Kieran.

12 years, three All-Irelands, three All-Stars. It’s been a hell of a ride.

The GAA’s best rags to riches story has come to a heartfelt ending after Kieran Donaghy announced his retirement from inter-county football.

After emerging through The Underdogs series in 2004, Donaghy won the hearts of the nation with his traditional style, his high fielding, his bullishness and his personality. Soon, he’d change the fortunes of Kerry football and help inspire the county to success in 2006, 2007, 2009 and once more in 2014.

In his retirement statement, the Austin Stacks legend penned a poem called Kerry I Thank You and, in it, he relived the dreams of a young boy who was inspired standing in Croke Park watching The Kingdom play.

In a long line of clinker lines from a long and distinguished career, Donaghy’s poem summed up his greatness brilliantly and two lines in particular encapsulated the inner workings of the big man.

I played on the edge, not a backward step taken,

Will I ever apologise? You must be mistaken.

Donaghy’s appearance in The GAA Hour studio this month was a memorable one as he reflected on his career and looked to what is ahead for Kerry.

Whilst he might not always have been loved by every rival, he goes out with the respect of Gaels all over the island. He leaves as he came in, a winner. And a Kerryman to the core.