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All-Ireland winning captain O'Sullivan becomes the fourth Kerry player to retire since close of championship

Darran O’Sullivan was part of four Sam Maguire triumphs with Kerry.

THE THEME OF change in Kerry football continues to dominate with Darran O’Sullivan this morning becoming the fourth player from the county to retire since their 2018 championship campaign concluded.

Darran O'Sullivan lifts the Sam Maguire Darran O'Sullivan was the leader when Kerry won the 2009 final against Cork. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

2009 All-Ireland winning captain O’Sullivan has brought his career to a close and joins Kieran Donaghy, Donnchadh Walsh and Anthony Maher in the ranks of recently retired Kingdom players.

O’Sullivan won four All-Ireland senior medals with Kerry in a career that started when he joined the squad at the start of the 2005 season after bursting onto the scene with the county minor side that contested the All-Ireland decider in 2004.

He also won several other honours during his Kerry career and won an All-Star award in 2011 when he starred in a season that featured this brilliant goal against Limerick before Kerry lost out to Dublin in the All-Ireland final

Source: Alex_N-L5/YouTube

  • 4 All-Ireland titles
  • 10 Munster championships
  • 3 National leagues medals
  • 1 All-Ireland club JFC
  • 1 Munster club JFC
  • 1 Kerry club JFC 
  • 1 Kerry club SFC
  • 1 Sigerson Cup (Dublin IT 2013)
  • 1 All-Star (2011)

Darran O'Sullivan celebrates scoring his sides first goal Darran O'Sullivan celebrating Glenbeigh-Glencar's goal in the 2017 All-Ireland club junior football final. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

O’Sullivan announced his decision in a statement on the Kerry GAA website.

“Today I wish to announce my retirement from the Kerry senior football team. It’s a day I never wanted to come, and it is with massive sadness I announce that it’s my time to move on.

“I’ve been extremely blessed to have had a career I could never have dreamed of. I joined my boyhood heroes in the dressing room during the Winter of 2004, fresh faced and straight out of Minors and since then, have been lucky enough to have pulled the green and gold jersey on for 70 championship appearances, as well as having the opportunity to captain Kerry to All-Ireland glory.”

O’Sullivan expressed his gratitude to team-mates and management.

“To my team-mates who I was lucky enough to play with, I want to thank you all for the memories we made and the bond that we created inside the dressing room. To say this was the greatest period of my life, is putting it mildly, I loved every minute of it and I wouldn’t change anything.

“The successes were well celebrated, and the disappointments were mourned together. There’s nothing more powerful than a dressing room united pulling in the same direction and that’s what I will miss the most. However, the highlight is that I am leaving that same dressing room with incredible friendships, friendships which I know will stand the test of time.

Darran O'Sullivan and David Moran celebrate Darran O'Sullivan and David Moran celebrate Kerry's 2014 All-Ireland senior final victory. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“To the managers and management teams who I was lucky enough to play under, thank you for all your time, effort and support. During my 14 years involved, I got to play under former team-mates and some of my idols and I was always encouraged to express myself on the pitch.

“Every management team had their own style, but the one constant was always a huge love and respect for the traditions of Kerry football and it’s something that filtered into everyone in the dressing room. I didn’t want to single anyone out, but I do want to thank Jack O’Connor who placed huge faith in me by bringing me straight in from minors and handing me my debut in the 2005 All-Ireland final.”

Source: officialgaa/YouTube

The 32-year-old also thanked the Kerry fans, his family and club Glenbeigh-Glencar, along with wishing the squad well under new manager Peter Keane.

“I want to wish Peter Keane and his management team well for the future, it’s an exciting time for Kerry football and I’m looking forward to supporting you all. To the next generation, relish the challenge of being a Kerry footballer and never forget the players who went before you and put their heart and soul into it.

“The greatest honour you can have is pulling on that green and gold jersey and the pride that washes over you as it rests on your shoulders.”

Darran O'Sullivan celebrates scoring a goal Darran O'Sullivan after netting in the 2011 Munster senior final. Source: James Crombie

Éamonn Fitzmaurice hailed O’Sullivan’s contribution to Kerry football.

“His explosive all-action style meant he was a fan favourite from the off and right up until his last appearance against Kildare in this year’s championship, he has excited people every time he touched the ball.

“In my time in charge Darran was a pleasure to deal with on and off the field. His honesty and work ethic shone through. Behind the happy go lucky easy going exterior there is a steely determination and ambition.

“His selflessness meant he played in every position in the forward line both as a starter and finisher depending on what was best for the team. His attitude regardless of the role demanded of him was always top class.”

And another former manager Jack O’Connor also praised O’Sullivan.

Darran O'Sullivan and Enda McNulty Darran O'Sullivan firing home that goal against Armagh in 2006. Source: Andrew Paton/INPHO

“He scored a memorable goal in the ’06 quarter final against Armagh when it was badly needed . He dispossessed Enda McNulty and took off to score the decisive goal after Kerry had been reduced to 14 men. 

“Darran was a very difficult man to nail down because of his pace and low centre of gravity. He was a great leader in 2009 when he had the honour of captaining Kerry and bringing the Sam Maguire back to his native Glenbeigh/Glencar. 

“In his latter years injury has curtailed his appearances but he can be very proud of his contribution to Kerry football. He got us out of many a tight corner and he will be fondly remembered by the Kerry supporters.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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