Colm Cooper releases retirement statement

'The Gooch' has played his last game for Kerry

Colm Cooper releases retirement statement

Colm Cooper Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

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

Those were the words of Colm Cooper as he confirmed his retirement from inter-county football. Reports on Tuesday morning hinted at the imminent retirement of 'The Gooch', which the man himself confirmed hours later.

"Today I wish to announce my retirement from the Kerry Senior Football team", Cooper began his statement. "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."

Cooper's last Kerry manager was Eamon Fitzmaurice. A former team mate of the bank official, Fitzmaurice also praised 'Gooch'

"I was lucky enough to have both played with and managed him. As a player when on the ball in matches I looked for him and in training I tended to steer clear of him. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him as manager."

As an inter-county career ends, he will now focus on his club Dr. Crokes, as they will look to defend their All-Ireland Club title next year.