Kerry’s five-time All-Ireland-winning defender Marc Ó Sé has announced his retirement from inter-county football.
The An Gaeltacht clubman, who made his championship debut against Limerick in 2002, played 176 times for the Kingdom and shares a record for the most championship appearances (88) with his brother Tomás.
As well as his All-Ireland successes, Ó Sé won 10 Munster titles, three National Leagues, three All Stars and was named Player of the Year in 2007.
In a statement, Ó Sé said: “It has been 16 years since I first became a member of the Kerry senior panel and now I feel it is the right time for me, my family and Kerry to hang up my boots. I wish to thank my family for all their support throughout my career with Kerry.
“I would like to thank the Kerry County Board for all their support down through the years. I would also like to thank all the selectors, trainers, doctors, physio’s, backroom staff and of course the players whom I have been lucky to serve with during my career.
If you told me as a child that I would go on and win All Irelands with my heroes I would have said I was dreaming so to be able to do that has been one of the greatest thrills of my life.
Marc Ó Sé
“I wish to thank Jack O’Connor, Pat O’Shea and of course Eamonn Fitzmaurice for all their guidance and support during my years wearing the green and gold.
“I would also like to pay special tribute to my late uncle Páidí who guided me through my first two seasons with Kerry, particularly when there were question marks still hanging over me, but he continued to believe in me and while Paidí was no longer Kerry manager from 2003 onwards he remained a huge influence and a constant mentor throughout my career.”
Ó Sé, who will continue to play club football, continued: “If you told me as a child that I would go on and win All Irelands with my heroes I would have said I was dreaming so to be able to do that has been one of the greatest thrills of my life.
“I wish the Kerry team all the best in the years ahead and I have no doubt that they will recapture Sam in the not too distant future.
“Of course I will miss playing with Kerry, miss the craic and friendships with the lads and most of all miss those big days out in Croke Park but now I look forward to my future with my partner and my young family.
“After 16 years it is time.”
Kerry manager Fitzmaurice congratulated Ó Sé on a “stellar career” and said he has been “an outstanding servant for the green and gold”.
Fitzmaurice said: “I had the honour of both playing and managing Marc. He was an outstanding team-mate and a pleasure to manage.
“He for many years was the back that got to mark the opposition’s number one danger man. More often than not we could take that as mission accomplished.
“As well as being an outstanding man marker he also possessed a rare natural football ability. He was a footballing defender and was an attacking corner-back long before it was en vogue, kicking scores from the No 2 position as far back as the All-Ireland quarter final against Armagh in 2006.
“He also had a huge presence in the dressing room which was of particular significance in the last few years. He led by example and helped to drive a culture of excellence within the setup.
“Be it excelling in the football sessions, winning runs, driving gym sessions or speaking in meetings Marc was to the forefront of everything we did.”