Killarney Legion clubmates Jonathan Lyne and Brian Kelly will both be unavailable for selection for Kerry in 2021 after announcing their respective retirements from the intercounty scene earlier this week.
Lyne had been a member of the Kerry set-up since 2011 while Kelly made his debut in 2012, and both were part of the All-Ireland winning side of 2014.
The news came as somewhat of a surprise to Kerry supporters, many of whom took to social media to thank the long-serving players for their dedication to the green and gold jersey.
Lyne, a versatile player who could operate in defence or attack, made a very significant contribution to that successful 2014 campaign when he came off the bench in the semi-final replay against Mayo and kicked two inspirational scores in extra-time. The match is affectionately remembered by Kerry fans as one of the team’s finest results of the last decade.
The 30-year-old schoolteacher followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Denny, and granduncles, Jackie, Michael and Teddy, all of whom represented Kerry with great distinction in the past.
In a tweet signaling his intention to opt out of the Kerry camp, Lyno, as he is affectionately known, said that playing for Kerry had been “a true honour”.
“The right time has come for me to finish up my Kerry journey and retire. It has been a true honour to represent my family, friends, club and Kerry people. I'm looking forward to supporting the lads just like these 3 legends that I lost this year always supported me #CiarraíAbú.”
The tweet also contained photographs of the three people in question, namely his brother Damien, friend and teammate Derek Twomey and grandfather Arthur O’Keeffe, all of whom tragically died in 2020.
Goalkeeper Kelly was an ever-present for Eamonn Fitzmaurice throughout the 2014 championship and he kept a clean sheet in the Munster final, All-Ireland quarter-final and All-Ireland final against Donegal.
He dropped to the bench for the 2015 championship but regained his place for 2016 and 2017. In 2018 he had to settle for No. 16 again, but he was drafted in towards the end of the year for the Super 8 matches against Monaghan and Kildare.
The Ardshanavooly native was generally a substitute under Peter Keane but he did make a couple of appearances in the league, his final one coming against Meath in Killarney last February.
In a statement released via the Kerry GAA website, Kelly said he had lived out his dream.
“The time is right for me to step away from intercounty football. I would like to acknowledge all the management and backroom teams, the County Board and Kerry Group for their support over the last nine years.
“As a teenager growing up in Killarney I sold match programmes on Munster final days and dreamed of one day climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand to lift Sam Maguire. Thankfully I have lived out my dream and I am proud to have played my small part in the Kerry GAA history books.
“This would not have been possible without the help of my teammates, family, friends, girlfriend, my club Killarney Legion and my employer, O’Carroll Engineering. I am especially grateful for your guidance and encouragement down through the years.
“A final thank you to the Kerry fans for their unwavering support. I look forward to cheering on the team with you in 2021.”
Lyne and Kelly will now turn their attention to the club scene, and the Killarney Legion will be hoping that Kerry’s loss will be their gain.
Meanwhile, another member of the victorious 2014 team has also decided to retire from intercounty football. Defender Shane Enright from Tarbert is calling it a day, citing a persistent back injury and lack of game time as factors.
Pics: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.
James O’Donoghue retires from intercounty football
by Adam Moynihan
Former Player of the Year and two-time All-Star James O’Donoghue has announced his retirement from intercounty football.
The Killarney Legion forward stepped away from Peter Keane’s panel in 2021 to focus on club football, leading to speculation surrounding his future in the green and gold.
O’Donoghue has not featured under new manager Jack O’Connor and today, speaking to Off The Ball, he confirmed that he had actually privately retired last year.
“It’s all over, it’s all over bar the shouting,” the 31-year-old said.
“Last year, I was fighting an uphill battle. Realistically, I stepped away from the panel just before the going got very serious because I wasn’t really contributing. I told them at that stage that I was retiring but because Kerry were going too well, we decided not to put out a statement and throw all the good vibes out of the camp. So we just kept it under wraps.
“It’s a painful one, it’s definitely something that’s going to be hard, but it’s the right thing.”
Although he had initially resigned himself to stepping away for good, O’Donoghue did admit that he tried to get himself right for another cut under Jack O’Connor.
“I know Jack well, very well and have always got on great with him, and I know that if I was right, I could have picked up the phone and rang him and said ‘I’m thinking about changing my mind, what do you think?’
“I actually did give a go at getting into very good nick for it, just to see if I could give it one last go, but do you know what – my body wasn’t up to it, just that the way it is. I’ll go back to the club now, tailor my programme and I guarantee you that I might not see another injury, just the slight drop in intensity might suit me.
“If I was right I could have picked up the phone and we’d have had a chat, but it just didn’t feel right.”
O’Donoghue was speaking on The Football Pod, the OTB podcast which he will now host alongside Paddy Andrews and Tommy Rooney.
Despite his battles with injuries, the Killarney native enjoyed a memorable career for The Kingdom. After making his league debut in 2010, he soon became a key figure in Kerry’s forward division and was integral when Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side won the 2014 All-Ireland final against Donegal.
Killarney girls prepared for Munster final duel
U16 Munster League Final
Killarney RFC v Ennis
Saturday at 1pm
The Killarney RFC U16 girls’ team are heading for Limerick today (Saturday) hoping to cap a magnificent season with a trophy.
This talented group of players, many of whom are new to the sport, have taken on all comers en route to the decider and now Ennis stand between them and provincial glory.
Even reaching the final is a great achievement for the Aghadoe-based club. Coach Diarmuid O’Malley says his charges will need to find “another level” to get over the line.
“We have seen [Ennis] play on a couple of occasions this season and what’s clear is that they have being together for many years,” O’Malley said. “We again will need to step it up to another level in order to be able to compete effectively against them.
“I look back on the success of the Limerick hurling team when they reached the All-Ireland final in 2018, not many gave them much of a chance at the time. The common theme was that “it’s a young team and their time will come”. They not only took the opportunity in 2018 but have since won three out of the last four All-Irelands.
“Finals are all about being present, patient and taking your opportunity, and not letting the occasion get to you. These girls have a great approach to everything they have done in the most challenging environment this year in the current global circumstances.
“It’s going to be one hell of a battle against a very good Ennis team and they are very much favoured to win, but nothing is beyond this capable bunch of Killarney girls.”
If Killarney are to cause an upset, their defence will be key.
“We have had a phenomenal run to get to the final and all through the journey the girls have not compromised on the quality of the rugby they are playing. The most pleasing aspect of our semifinal win against Bruff was keeping them to zero as we have put huge emphasis on our defence all season.
“We will very much approach the final versus Ennis in the same way.”
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