Five-time Kerry All-Ireland winning defender O'Mahony retires from inter-county football

The Rathmore player also won three All-Star awards.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice celebrates with Declan O'Sullivan, Aidan O'Mahony and Barry John Keane Kerry defender Aidan O'Mahony celebrated the 2014 All-Ireland final win with manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

LONG-SERVING KERRY football defender Aidan O’Mahony has retired at the age of 36.

The Rathmore player won five All-Ireland senior medals with the county while making 70 championship appearances for the Kingdom.

His last outing was in the All-Ireland semi-final loss to Dublin last August and he follows fellow veteran Marc Ó Sé in making the decision to retire ahead of the 2017 season.

Marc Ó Sé and Aidan O’Mahony at the final whistle The defeat to Dublin was the last stand with Kerry for Marc Ó Sé and Aidan O'Mahony. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

O’Mahony’s list of honours for Kerry is hugely impressive.

  • 5 All-Ireland SFC: 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2014.
  • 3 National League: 2004, 2006, 2009.
  • 8 Munster SFC: 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.
  • 2 All-Star: 2006, 2007.

Kerry's Aidan O'Mahony celebrates Aidan O'Mahony celebrating Kerry's 2006 All-Ireland final victory over Mayo Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

“Today I would like to announce my retirement,” stated O’Mahony in a statement on the official Kerry GAA website.

“I feel the time is now appropriate for me to step away from the Kerry team.

“It’s been an absolute honour for me to wear the green and gold jersey for Kerry for the past 14 years at senior level and I leave having great respect for all the talented players I have shared my footballing career with.

“I am extremely grateful for all the support my teammates gave me down through the years and I have made friendships for life.

“I have been incredibly fortunate to represent my club (Rathmore), county, province and country over the years. It was an honour to share the dressing room with such brilliant players throughout the last 14 years with Kerry.

Aidan O'Mahoney and Ryan O'Keefe 28/10/2006 Aidan O'Mahony (right) in action against Australia in the 2006 International Rules Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

“I have utmost respect for every player whom I have played against as we all put on our county colours with a common goal in mind.

“I would like to thank the managers whom I have trained under with Kerry from Minor and U21 to Senior level. I will be forever appreciative for the belief you have all shown in me.

“Thanks to the Kerry supporters who travel far and wide every year for both League and championship.

“I would like to thank An Garda Sióchana for their consistent support in facilitating my involvement with the Kerry team.

“Finally, I would like to thank my family for their encouragement and ongoing support over the years.

“Today is the beginning of something new!!!”

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice praised O’Mahony’s defensive prowess and his role in integrating younger players into their squad.

“Over the years he has played in every defensive position for Kerry and performed every role to distinction from man marker to attacking half back, from a holding centre back to a sweeper in recent years.

“He was the ultimate pro in terms of the way he prepared himself for training and matches on and off the field.

“He led by example and was a driving force in the gym and on the pitch. He took pride in excelling at any physical work.

“Throughout his career he defied western medicine when returning from injury. He pushed himself to the limit and beyond to get back as quickly as possible.

“For the medical team trying to hold him back as he fought to return to play was like trying to keep the tide out.

“His leadership was of particular importance in the last few years as a lot of younger players have been integrated into the panel. He passed on the baton and helped these players to understand what it means to be a Kerry footballer.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice greets Aidan O'Mahony as he leaves the field Eamonn Fitzmaurice greeting Aidan O'Mahony as he was substituted during the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final draw. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

“Honesty underpinned everything he did and his selflessness manifested itself in the way he was happy to advise and encourage everyone, even the players he was in direct competition with for a position; a rarity.

“He personified leaving the jersey in a better place. Aidan was a warrior for Kerry right up until the last minute of his last game for Kerry last August. I wish him and Denise all the best for the future.”

Former Kerry boss Jack O’Connor described O’Mahony as ‘teak tough and fearless’.

“When I took over as Kerry senior manager in 2004 it was fairly obvious to me that we needed to go in a new direction.

Jack O'Connor with Aidan O'Mahony Aidan O'Mahony with Jack O'Connor after the 2011 Munster final victory. Cathal Noonan Cathal Noonan

“Kerry had been bullied by the likes of Tyrone, Armagh and Meath three years in a row so we needed a new harder edge if we were to compete at the top table. Aidan O’Mahony fitted that bill perfectly.

“He was teak tough and fearless. The tougher it was, the better he liked it. The likes of himself and Paul Galvin set the tone early on that year in our two battles in the Munster championship with Limerick.

“He often sailed close to the wind but that was the only way he knew how to play. Aidan had a great temperament for the big day and he marked some of the best forwards in the country over the years.”

O’Mahony’s club Rathmore paid tribute to a ‘superb leader on and off the pitch’, through their chairman Donal Murphy.

“We in Rathmore GAA Club, wish to congratulate him and to thank him, for all he has achieved, including 5 All-Ireland medals and a plethora of other awards.

“Throughout all his time with Kerry he has remained absolutely loyal to his club, and he always brought the same drive and intensity to Rathmore games that were his hallmark in the inter-county scene.

“Making his Kerry debut in 2004, he and Tom O’Sullivan gave us some great days out, annexing 4 All-Irelands in the noughties, and in the company of Paul Murphy he won his 5th in 2014.

Tom O'Sullivan and Aidan O'Mahony raise the Sam Maguire The Rathmore duo celebrate the 2009 All-Ireland final victory Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Aidan O'Mahony and Paul Murphy celebrates at the final whistle O'Mahony and Murphy savour Kerry's 2015 All-Ireland semi-final win over Tyrone. Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

“He has been a superb leader on and off the pitch and through his example, he showed all younger players exactly what the Green + Gold jersey stands for.

“We wish himself and Denise all the best in the future, and we hope to see him donning the Red & White of Rathmore for a good while yet.”

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