FIVE-TIME All-Ireland winning Kerry footballer Tommy Griffin feels that the time is right to end his inter-county career.
The 33-year-old Dingle man struggled with injuries last season, failing to make an appearance for Kerry in the championship. That contributed to the versatile Griffin ending his 12-season trophy-laden spell with the Kingdom's seniors, informing Jack O'Connor of his decision over the weekend.
"I have been mulling it over since September and I just feel the time is right now to just hang up the boots and move on," Griffin said.
"The injuries were definitely one factor, as was my age because I'm not getting any younger. I have had my troubles with injuries. I spent most of last year doing rehab work, and I would have to spend half of this season trying to get myself right as well, so it had a big say in my decision."
The Dingle publican also admitted that, nowadays, it's hard to combine working with maintaining an inter-county career.
"It's tough to combine the two. It's full-time stuff. You think it's just training twice a week but it's more than that, it's five, six days a week that you are looking after the body -- you are in the gym, you are stretching, you're going for rubs, you're going for physio. It's a balancing act. I am well used to it since 2000 and a lot of time has gone into it, but it's time to concentrate on other things now."
Griffin, who will continue to play football at club level for Dingle, is also backing O'Connor's side to bounce back from last year's All-Ireland disappointment against Dublin, pointing out that the future for Kerry is very bright.
"I have no doubt that Kerry will be right up there again this year. Kerry are in great shape. Just looking at the amount of new talent coming up, it's funny to hear fellas say that there is nothing coming up because there are players coming through every year," said Griffin, who played full-back, centre-back and in midfield for Kerry.
"There is enough talent there to make a big impact over the next few years. There are a lot of young fellas coming through, lads who haven't even got their chance yet, and we are in good shape to contest All-Ireland finals for the next couple of years anyway."
With 40 championship games under his belt, his last game for Kerry was in the 2010 All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Down, while his only ever championship point came against Longford in the 2006 All-Ireland qualifier in Killarney.