GAA stars up and down the country have been paying tribute to Kerry forward, Kieran Donaghy after he announced his retirement from inter-county football.
Donaghy, or ‘Star’, as he was known by Kerry fans, won four All-Irelands and three All-Stars in a fourteen-year spell for the Kingdom.
His aggressive style of play, ability to pluck high balls from the air and take important scores at important times won the hearts of the Kerry faithful.
The 34-year-old was one of the undiscovered talents unearthed by TG4’s Underdogs series in 2004 and made his debut for Kerry in 2005. However, it was in 2006 when he made the full-forward position his own and was named Footballer of the Year as Kerry won the All Ireland.
Donaghy’s ‘big man, little man’ partnership with Colm Cooper would inspire Kerry to three more Championship titles, in 2007, 2009 and 2014.
In a statement on the Kerry GAA website, the Austin Stacks club man stated:
“The journey has been full of ups and downs but I never wanted it to end. It has surpassed even my wildest dreams, that a basketball kid from Tralee would end up playing 69 times in the championship over a 14 year period for the famous Green and Gold,” he said.
“To every one of my Kerry teammates who I was lucky enough to have played with, I thank you for your patience, help and advice during those years. I’m blessed to have had the time of my life with you boys fighting on my back trying to win games for Kerry. We had some tough times, such is life but the wonderful stories and memories we shared will stick with me forever.”
Donaghy also tweeted a poem, expressing his joy at going from a boy in the stands at Croke to playing for his county in All Ireland Finals.
GAA stars, along with former Rugby player Ronan O’Gara, have been paying tribute to Donaghy in statements and on Twitter.
Well done @starryboy14 . Easy to enjoy the afterlife after everything you have given. Legend . Fair play.
— Ronan O Gara (@RonanOGara10) September 11, 2018
Past and present Kerry stars have been taking to social media to pay tribute to Donaghy.
He wasn’t called the ‘ Star ‘ for no reason, epitomised everything about being a kerry legend on & off the field, safe to say we got to know each other very well inside the white lines in training for years 🤔all for the kerry cause,only one ⭐️.Friend for life 💚💛@starryboy14 pic.twitter.com/oZPNeDERFI
— Aidan O Mahony (@GmailMahony) September 11, 2018
@starryboy14 is without doubt a Kerry icon. Congratulations on a fantastic career and It was an absolute honor to share the Kerry Jersey with you. The very best of luck in your next chapter. #TheStar
Ps. I won’t miss him pulling my jersey though! pic.twitter.com/f6A3hF6CpB
— Killian Young (@killianyoung) September 11, 2018
What a journey it’s been with this guy! The big man with the most infectious personality. Lucky enough to play with some legends & he is one of them but he’s out on his own as the best teammate you could ever have. Thanks @starryboy14 💚💛 pic.twitter.com/v8nveqawz8
— Darran O'Sullivan (@Darransull86) September 11, 2018
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Kerry county board chairman Tim Murphy, called Donaghy “one of Kerry’s greatest servants”.
“He acted as a mentor and confidant to many of these new players and has successfully helped them understand what it really means to be a Kerry footballer.”