It's a compliment to be compared to Kieran Donaghy - Bomber
Kerry legend Eoin 'Bomber' Liston has paid Kieran Donaghy the ultimate tribute by insisting it's a "compliment" to be compared to the retiring Austin Stacks stalwart, who called time on his Kerry career after 14 seasons.
The seven time All-Ireland winner made the comment after Donaghy announced his retirement from the county game.
"With the skills he had, his fielding and quick hands, I'd take it as a compliment to be compared to him," said Liston, one of the most celebrated full-forwards the game has seen.
"The skills he had from the basketball, they complimented him as a player totally and his athleticism too. I think an awful lot of the benefit, apart from his football and basketball skills, that he brought to the game that he was such a leader.
"In the dressing room, I saw him an International Rules level, and the commitment he gave to everything was second to none. There was no ego, he was all about his team-mates, just a class act, a really great man to have in the trenches. You talk about leadership and team players, I think no one took them to the level he took them. He was just all about his fellow players and trying to get over the line and win.
"That man was capable of playing in any position, to box him into full-forward, he played brilliant there, he could play on the 40, midfield, he could win his own ball and the use he'd put the ball to and the way he conducted the show. That's what I'll remember."
In his retirement statement, Donaghy - hailed by Jack O'Connor as "the Bomber of our team" - said playing with Kerry for so long "surpassed my wildest dreams" and added: "I'm blessed to have had the time of my life with you boys fighting on my back."
Tributes for Donaghy rolled in from several quarters yesterday. Marc O Se insisted he was the his "best team mate bar none" while Eamonn Fitzmaurice tipping him to one day move into management.
"He has the personality to go into management," Fitzmaurice said. "He is the ultimate team player, has a strong appreciation of the team dynamic, possesses a great tactical understanding of the game and most importantly is brimming with ideas. I can see him successfully managing Kerry teams in the future."
Kerry's loss will be basketball's gain as Donaghy takes to the court in Dublin with Tralee Warriors on Saturday for a two-day tournament ahead of the sport's new season.