Kerry legend Tomás O'Sé announces his retirement from inter-county football
Five-time All-Ireland winner Tomás O'Sé has announced his retirement from inter-county football at the age of 35 bringing the curtain down on an illustrious 15-year career with the Kingdom.
The An Ghaeltacht clubman made the revelation on Dara O'Cinneide's radio programme on Raidió na Gaeltachta today.
O'Sé has been one of the greatest defenders of the modern era and retires with five All-Ireland titles, eight Munster crowns, five All-Star awards and an All-Ireland under-21 winners medal to his name.
He was named as Texaco Player of the Year after Kerry's successful 2009 All-Ireland campaign.
O'Sé has been an ever-present at wing-back for the Kingdom and has played more Championship games for the county than other player in the history of Kerry GAA.
Under the management of his Uncle, Paidí, Tomás made his senior Championship debut in the full back line against Cork in 1998 alongside Barry O’Shea and Stephen Stack, and went on to play 88 Championship games for his native Kerry scoring an amazing 3-35 in the process.
Eamon Fitzmaurice descibed O'Sé as the greatest wing-back he had ever witnessed in a statement today.
"On behalf of the players and management I would like to congratulate Tomás O Sé on his retirement," Fitzmaurice said in a statement.
"He had a fantastic honour laden career. In many ways Tomás epitomised everything that Kerry football is all about. His commitment, determination and never say die attitude were plainly visible every time he took to the pitch.
"He was a warrior. He also had a game changing ability and instinctively knew when one of his trademark bursts from defence culminating in a score was required.
"His fitness levels have always been astounding. He trained ferociously hard and really enjoyed the challenge of getting himself ready for the big championship days. These were the days that he enjoyed most. The days that defined him. The days when he always performed.
"From a personal point of view he was a great team mate and a dream to manage. He was a huge presence in our dressing room.
"In team meetings he always spoke well. He consistently had something new and relevant to contribute. He was an outstanding example to our younger players this season. He has passed the baton on to them and clearly displayed the characteristics and standards required by a Kerry footballer. He showed them the Kerry way.
"Tomás was the best wing back that I have seen play the game."
Kerry legend Pat Spillane told RTE Radio One: "He owes nothing to Kerry football. One of the most natural wingbacks in the history of the game. He was a warrior.
"For the greatest tesm of all time, Tomás would be an obvious selection."
Patick O’Sullivan, Chairman of the Kerry County Committee added: "To say that Tomás Ó Sé will be a huge loss to the Kerry Senior Football team is an understatement.
"The Number 5 jersey, which he made his own for so many years, will be very difficult to fill. He is the longest serving inter county player, and not alone that, his honours in the game are a proud record of commitment to Kerry.
"Growing up in Árd a’ Bhothair, Tomás along with Feargal, Darragh and Marc, was submerged in the football tradition and with their uncle Páidí as their mentor, and later Liam Ó Rócháin, we should not have been surprised that the Ó Sé family would continue to have a strong influence on the Kerry teams and go on to be long serving inter county players who would achieve the highest honours that an inter county playing career can offer.
"His Kerry career started at minor grade where he excelled. It was not long before he established himself in the senior and Under 21 teams.
"Few people realise that Tomás was on the extended panel in 1997 when Kerry won the All-Ireland Final ending the long wait from 1986.
"I thank Tomás for all the joy and entertainment he gave us down through his years as a player. We will miss those bursts of speed out of defence and needless to say, many of his opposing inter county forwards will be relieved that they don’t have Tomás Ó Sé to worry about any longer!
"He has retired from the inter county scene in the full knowledge of the vast contribution he made to Kerry GAA and Kerry people throughout the world will be sad today when they hear of his retirement.
"He has given us great memories and we wish him well in everything he does in the future.
"On reading through the list of his achievements listed below, we realise the extent of his unquestioned ability, character and talent as player. What is not listed here is the extent of the leadership he gave on the field.
!There are no medals to honour leadership, but the leadership that Tomás Ó Sé has given to his fellow team members on numerous occasions down through the years will be impossible to replace. We wish him, and his family, the very best in the future."
Factfile: Tomás Ó Sé
Height: 5ft 11”
Club: An Ghaeltacht
1st League game for Kerry: 1998
1st Championship game for Kerry: V Cork 1998
Championship Matches since Debut: 88
Championship Scores in Total since Debut: 3-35
Minor experience with Kerry: 1995, 1996.
U21 experience with Kerry: 1997, 1998, 1999.
5 All Ireland Senior Football 2000, 2004, 2006 2007, 2009.
1 All Ireland U21.
3 National League Medals 2004, 2007, 2009
9 Munster Senior Football Championships
3 Munster U21 Football Championships
1 Munster Minor Football Championship 1996
1 Munster Senior Club Football Championship 2003
2 County Senior Football Championships 2001, 2003
1 Railway Cup
5 All Star awards, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009
Texaco Footballer of the Year 2009