Colm Cooper: 'It is very rare for people to achieve their ultimate dreams in life - I just have'

Update 10.20am: Colm Cooper has released a statement, calling time on his illustrious inter-county career.

    "Today I wish to announce my retirement from the Kerry Senior Football team. It has been an amazing journey and one that I never wanted to end, however, I feel that this is the right time for me step away from inter county football. Representing the Kingdom for the past seventeen years has given me a tremendous amount of pride and satisfaction.

    "To my Kerry teammates that I have soldiered with throughout the years, thank you for your guidance, patience and friendship. I feel extremely lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights with you all.

    "To get the opportunity to play with, and against, some of the greatest players in the history of the GAA has given me memories that I will always treasure.

    "During my career I have been very fortunate to work with some outstanding Kerry managers. They gave me the confidence to develop my game which allowed me to perform at the highest level.

    "I would like to thank the Kerry County Board, backroom staff and medical teams for their constant help and support throughout my career.

    "A huge thank you to the loyal Kerry fans at home and abroad for their continuous support. I now become a supporter and wish the team all the best in their quest for honours in 2017.

    "I would like to thank my club Dr. Crokes for nurturing my talents and giving me the belief that there was no limit to what I could achieve, also to get the opportunity to Captain Kerry teams is something I’m extremely privileged to have done.

    "I’m looking forward to continuing my Dr. Crokes career.

    "Finally to my family, without you none of my successes would have been possible. Through the ups and downs, you were the people that believed in me and kept me going. For this I am forever grateful.

    "It is very rare for people to achieve their ultimate dreams in life - I just have."

Update 8.40am: Colm Cooper's retirement has been confirmed on Morning Ireland.

Tomás Ó Sé said he was one of the greatest players the game had ever seen.

"He was quicker than everyone else, his left was as good as his right," he said.

Earlier: The retirement of Colm Cooper, the greatest Gaelic footballer of his generation, is expected to be announced later today, writes John Fogarty.

It is anticipated Éamonn Fitzmaurice will at a scheduled press conference in Tralee this evening read out a statement on behalf of the 33-year-old, who is bringing down the curtain on 15 senior seasons with Kerry in which he has claimed five All-Ireland titles and eight All-Stars.

Cooper had been widely tipped to call it a day. His goodbye to Croke Park was a glorious one last month as he scored a goal for Dr Crokes as they bridged the gap to their 1992 All-Ireland club SFC final success when Cooper was the mascot.

A serious knee injury while playing for Crokes in February 2014 impacted greatly on the forward’s career but he returned to the panel for that year’s All-Ireland final win over Donegal despite not seeing any action.

Although he picked up a shoulder injury in last year’s Munster final defeat of Tipperary, Cooper made nine more championship appearances for Kerry after his freak knee problem, scoring 3-17.

Cooper had met with Fitzmaurice to discuss his future on at least two occasions since the club’s victory over Slaughtneil. He had been cryptic about his intentions after the St Patrick’s Day triumph: “’I've pretty much poured everything into this since we lost with Dublin out here in the semi-final last year. I poured everything into Dr Crokes because I knew there wouldn’t be too many more opportunities for us again.

“Look, I spoke with Eamonn [Fitzmaurice, Kerry manager] at Christmas. I said, ‘you do your thing, I’ll do my thing and we’ll chat when the Crokes journey is over’. Look, I envisage that we’ll talk in the next week or so and thrash it out and see where we go. I’m sure we’ll come to the right conclusion.”

Cooper made his senior championship debut against Limerick in the 2002 Munster semi-final in which he scored a point. He was scoreless in the subsequent provincial decider draw with Cork but pointed in the replay defeat and scored a further 3-13 as he helped guide Kerry to the All-Ireland final against Armagh.

COOPER BY THE NUMBERS

3 – Division 1 medals (2004, ’06, ’09).

4 – Championship goals against Mayo, one in each game.

5 – All-Ireland medals (2004, ’06, ’07, ’09, ‘14).

8 – All-Stars (2002, ’04, ’05, ’07, ’08, ’10, ’11, ’13).

9 –Munster SFC medals (2003-’05, ‘07, ‘10, ‘11, 2013, ’15, ’16).

11 – His highest aggregate scoring total in one SFC game (2-5 v Limerick, Munster semi-final 2005).

11 – His total of SFC goals scored in Croke Park.

12 – League goals scored.

23 – Total championship goals scored.

60 – League appearances.

75 – Championship points scored against Cork.

85 – Championship appearances, third in all-time records behind Tomás and Marc Ó Sé (88).

164 – League points scored.

283 – Championship points scored.


 

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