Kieran Donaghy has committed to the Kerry senior football cause for 2018.
Next year will mark an extraordinary 14 years of Gaelic football for Donaghy at the highest level with the Kingdom.
The 34-year-old confirmed the news he would be extending his stay in green and gold for a further year to the Irish Examiner, despite admitting that he has entered the previous three seasons with a feeling of acknowledgement that each would be his last.
The Austin Stacks club player burst on the scene for Kerry in the mid-noughties, immediately striking up a lethal full-forward line partnership with Colm Cooper and endearing himself to the Kingdom faithful. Since then, ‘Star’ has been recognised as one of the biggest handfuls for the best defenders in the country on any given day.
In 2017, although Kerry ultimately succumbed to beaten All-Ireland finalists Mayo in a semi-final replay, Donaghy was a standout performer. His influence was so strong throughout his side’s march to Munster glory and the penultimate stage of the championship that Mayo boss Stephen Rochford took the drastic measure of deploying one of his most talented attackers, Aidan O’Shea, in at full-back in an attempt to minimise the damage caused by ‘Star’.
While Donaghy did earn an All-Star nomination for his endeavours in 2017, given the manner in which his season came to an end, being sent-off for lashing out at Mayo’s O’Shea as the All-Ireland semi-final replay slipped out of grasp, it would have been disappointing to see the Tralee icon call it a day in such fashion.
He is a firm believer in the proverb, ‘age is just a number’, you sense hearing from his philosophy on hanging up his inter-county boots. (Quotes via Examiner Sport.)
“I’ve always said it, I’ll retire when I can’t help Kerry anymore,” he said.
“If I don’t help Kerry on the pitch or I feel I can’t help Kerry on the pitch, I’ll be retired quicker than you can sit down, I’ll be gone, but I still feel I can do a job for Kerry and I still enjoy it, so why would I retire? Because society thinks I should retire?
“Because when you get over 30 in the GAA they all think you should retire?”
For the meantime, Donaghy is plying his trade with Garvey’s Tralee Warriors in basketball. That season has three more months to go until completion.
By the time the Munster championship has come around once again next summer, Donaghy, along with Eamonn Fitzmaurice who agreed on a term extension with Kerry a matter of weeks ago, will be raring to sink their teeth into another hard fought battle on the road to Sam Maguire glory, both with plenty still to offer the cause.