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O Se top of veterans' pile

EANONN O'HARA'S absence from Sligo's championship squad means that Tomas O Se will take over as the longest-serving inter-county footballer when Kerry take on Tipperary in the Munster SFC on May 26.

O'Hara has yet to confirm his retirement, but is likely to do so in the coming weeks.

It's expected that he will replace Tony Davis as an analyst for RTE's 'The Sunday Game.' The former Cork star is stepping down after a 19-year involvement with the popular programme.

O'Hara made his Connacht championship debut in 1994 and was out on his own in terms of longevity with a county team.

With Aaron Hoey having announced his retirement in January and injury-plagued Dermot Earley also on the verge of bowing out – he recently underwent back surgery – O Se (pictured below) is now the only current player whose career predates the 1999 championship.

Over the close season, Galway's Padraic Joyce and Cork's Nicholas Murphy retired from inter-county football, while Sligo's Noel McGuire and Antrim's Kevin Brady, debutants in 1998, have also moved on.

There are now only five current players who span three decades of championship football, with Limerick's John Galvin, Longford's Paul Barden, Tyrone's Stephen O'Neill and Waterford's Gary Hurney also making their first championship starts in 1999.

O Se was part of Kerry's extended 1997 All-Ireland winning squad, but didn't feature in any match. He made his championship debut the following summer and, at 35, remains the game's outstanding wing-back.

Irish Independent