Marc Ó Sé announces his retirement from inter-county football and calls time on "one of the greatest thrills" of his life

He retires with five All-Ireland medals and will go down as one of Kerry's greatest ever footballers

Kerry footballer and five-time All-Ireland winner Marc Ó Sé has called time on his distinguished inter-county career.

The 36-year-old made the announcement today and sees the curtain fall on a career that spanned over three separate decades.

The Gaeltacht club man, who made his championship debut in 2002 against Limerick, won every honour in the game and shares a record 88 Championship appearances for his county with his older brother Tomás.

Between Championship and League he played 176 times for Kerry and was named both GAA Player of the Year and Texaco Player of the Year in 2007. 

Ó Sé retires with three All-star awards, 10 Munster titles and three national league medals. 

"Today, I announce my retirement from the Kerry Senior Football Team," he said today in a statement. "It has been 16 years since I first became a member of the Kerry Senior Panel and now I feel it is the right time for me, my family and Kerry to hang up my boots. 

"I wish to thank my family for all their support throughout my career with Kerry.

"I would like to thank the Kerry County Board for all their support down through the years. I would also like to thank all the selectors, trainers, doctors, physio's, backroom staff and of course the players whom I have been lucky to serve with during my career. 

"I wish to thank Jack O'Connor, Pat O'Shea and of course Eamonn Fitzmaurice for all their guidance and support during my years wearing the green and gold. I would also like to pay special tribute to my late uncle Páidí who guided me through my first two seasons with Kerry, particularly when there were question marks still hanging over me, but he continued to believe in me and while Paidí was no longer Kerry manager from 2003 onwards he remained a huge influence and a constant mentor throughout my career.

"I wish to thank the Kerry supporters for all their support down through the years. 

"Buíochas faoi leith le Cumann Caide na Gaeltachta. Ní bheinn ag imirt le Ciarraí ach don club iontach, speisialta seo. Liam Ó Rocháin agus go háirithe Michéal Ó Sé a bhí mar bhainisteoirí agus mé ag fás aníos. Bhí tionchar an dearfach ar fad ag Micheál orm agus do chreid sé ionam i gcónaí. 

"I wish to thank the GPA for all their help and advice down through the years. 

He continued: "If you told me as a child that I would go on and win All Ireland's with my heroes I would have said I was dreaming so to be able to do that has been one of the greatest thrills of my life. To play alongside some of the greatest players to ever play the game is something I will always cherish. 

"I will continue to play football with my club An Ghaeltacht who have recently gained promotion to Division 1 of the County League and I look forward to playing with some exceptional young footballers in our great club. 

"I wish the Kerry team all the best in the years ahead and I have no doubt that they will recapture Sam in the not too distant future.

"Of course I will miss playing with Kerry, miss the craic and friendships with the lads and most of all miss those big days out in Croke Park but now I look forward to my future with my partner and my young family. 

"After 16 years it is time."

Ó Sé lifts the Sam Maguire back in 2009. Image: Inpho

Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice was the first to pay tribute to a "stellar" inter-county and hailed Ó Sé as "a huge presence in the dressing room which was of particular significance in the last few years".

He said: "On behalf of the Kerry management and players I would like to congratulate Marc Ó Sé on his retirement. He has been an outstanding servant for the Green and Gold with a senior inter county career that stretches over fifteen years.

"He has played under four different managers and won five All Ireland medals and numerous individual awards in a stellar career. This remarkable longevity is a tribute to his professionalism and determination to do the necessary to keep himself at the top of the game. 

"I had the honour of both playing and managing Marc. He was an outstanding team mate and a pleasure to manage. He for many years was the back that got to mark the opposition’s number one danger man. More often than not we could take that as mission accomplished.

"As well as being an outstanding man marker he also possessed a rare natural football ability. He was a footballing defender and was an attacking corner back long before it was en vogue, kicking scores from the no 2 position as far back as the All Ireland quarter final against Armagh in 2006.

"He also had a huge presence in the dressing room which was of particular significance in the last few years. He led by example and helped to drive a culture of excellence within the setup. Be it excelling in the football sessions, winning runs, driving gym sessions or speaking in meetings Marc was to the forefront of everything we did.

"Many of our younger players learned a huge amount from him as he displayed to them what it takes to be a Kerry footballer and the responsibilities that go with that. The respect within the group for him is absolute. 

"While he is taking a well deserved sabbatical from Kerry at the moment I can see him back in a management capacity in the near future. 

"Gaiscíoch i ngeansaí Chiarraí ab ea Marc. Go néirí go geal leis amach anseo."

Fitzmaurice celebrates winning the All-Ireland with Ó Sé in 2014. Image: Inpho