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Former Donegal GAA Player Of The Year Retires

Former GAA Player of the Year Karl Lacey has announced his retirement from inter-county football.

The Four Roads club man is one of the most decorated players in Donegal’s history having lined out for his county 148 times, winning one NFL Division 2 title, one NFL Division title, three Ulster titles, and one All-Ireland title with the O’Donnell County. The accolades don’t stop there, with two International Rules Series selections, four All Star awards and one GAA Footballer of the Year at an individual level.

Lacey, who was most comfortable when deployed at centre back, made his debut in 2004 as a substitute against Antrim and represented Donegal with distinction over the course of a 14-year career.

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final 28/8/2011 Donegal vs Dublin Donegal's Karl Lacey and Alan Brogan of Dublin Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

However, despite struggling with injuries in recent years, he finishes his career with a record-equalling 65 championship appearances for Donegal, joint-top with Christy Toye who retired after Donegal exited the 2016 campaign.

Lacey also served as a strength and conditioning coach with the county under-age development squads in recent times.

He announced his retirement on the Donegal GAA website by saying:

“Having allowed some dust to settle on our season, I now feel ready to
announce my retirement from the Donegal senior football team.

I have experienced almost everything with the Donegal footballers over
these past 14 seasons and more, from desperate defeats to the crowning
glory winning the Sam Maguire in 2012 and everything in between.

They are games and days and friendships that will live with me forever.

I am thankful for the opportunities given to me over the course of my
career, and grateful to the players who played alongside me and the
coaches who guided me throughout it.

With them, I was able to win League, Ulster, All-Ireland and
individual honours, and for that I very thankful. In addition to my
time with Donegal, I was honoured to be selected for my country and
play in the 2006 and 2011 International Rules series.

Now, I embark on a different phase of my life – that of a former
county footballer.”

He then went on to talk about his club and to thank his partner Ciara and his son Noah.

I will continue to play with Four Masters, with whom I first kicked a
ball and with whom I will kick my last.

I am enjoying increased responsibility in my job at LYIT and I have
enjoyed dipping my toe into coaching in recent times, most recently
with the Donegal development squads.

I am soon to be married to my fiancee Ciara. Our son Noah has been a
light in both our lives. They have made many sacrifices so that I
could continue to pursue my inter county career and I am eternally
grateful to them for that.

About Michael Keaveny

Part-time writer and farmer, full-time sports fan.