Kieran Donaghy and Marc O'Se reveal what they admire about Colm Cooper

Kerry All Ireland winners on their former team-mate's retirement

Kieran Donaghy, Colm Cooper, Kerry,

Kieran Donaghy and Colm Cooper ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

It's an inter-county career that can be exalted in both reputation and numbers since it began in 2002.

In terms of reputation, Colm Cooper's place among the overall GAA and Kerry greats is assured such is the respect for his skills.

And in pure numbers, The Gooch was well rewarded with medals: Five All Ireland titles, nine Munster crowns and four National Football Leagues.

It doesn't stop at the team level as individually he has ended up with eight All Stars to his name.

Cooper's Kerry teams witnessed his greatness first hand and Kieran Donaghy and Marc O'Sea joined Off The Ball to share their memories of one of Gaelic football's all time legends as he retires from inter-county duty.

"He really led by example and all he demanded of anyone else was what he was doing himself," said Donaghy of Cooper's off the field leadership.

"He really led by his actions on the pitch and it was on the training ground where he put in most of his work and it was just about how he'd go about it and I think his unselfishness as a player rubbed off very well on all his team-mates.

"He wouldn't do too much talking but when he spoke you could hear a pin drop and it was obviously great stuff coming out of him."

Marc O'Se and Colm Cooper celebrate victory in the 2004 All Ireland final ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

He also spoke about his closeness with his fellow All Ireland winner. 

"We were Minors together as well so certainly there would be a huge bond there as well that would be carried over. We'd be close, we'd be good friends for a long, long time and I think I was lucky enough to play with him for 13 or 14 years," said Donaghy. 

"Whether we won or lost, we'd meet up and there was many a brainstorming session that would have gone on after victories or defeats." 

O'Se recalled his first encounter with The Gooch on his debut.

"The first time I came across The Gooch was in 2002 when he was drafted in for Laois. We were actually in Division 2 and we were playing in the National League Division 2 final and Gooch was just drafted in for his first game with Kerry. I remember it was down in the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, there was a hailstorm the same day and he was just incredible," he said.

"That year he went on and we got to the final against Armagh. With all the years we played with Kerry, we just played incredible football that year. Gooch ended up getting an All Star in his first year."    

He also added that Cooper never complained about any rough challenges that came his way in the heat of battle, describing him as a "solid man" throughout his career.

Both O'Se and Donaghy also emphasised his strength as a team player.