"A TRUE Kerry great" ... this was just one of the glowing tributes paid to Declan O'Sullivan after the five-time All-Ireland SFC winner announced his retirement today.
O'Sullivan, who turns 31 next month, has bowed to the inevitable after recurring knee trouble curtailed his role to impact sub cameos at the business end of this year's championship.
The Dromid Pearses man still bows out at the pinnacle, having come off the bench during the second half of Kerry's All-Ireland final triumph over Donegal.
"It has been an incredibly difficult decision to arrive at but, after a lot of consideration, I feel now is the right time," he revealed via Kerry's website.
"Unfortunately, due to some long-standing injuries, it would be impossible for me to physically compete at the required level in 2015. Hopefully, after a long rest and some corrective work on my knees, I will be able to enjoy playing with my club for a number of years to come."
O'Sullivan is one of only eight players to lift Sam Maguire more than once, in '06' and '07. He won three consecutive All Stars, two on the '40' and one at full-forward, between '07 and '09.
His last two Kerry managers led the tributes to a player who made his SFC debut against Tipperary in 2003, the first of 70 championship appearances.
éamonn Fitzmaurice declared: "His honesty, the warrior-like way he leads by example and his innate football ability meant his team mates loved him. He also has a stubborn streak that meant he always fought his corner obstinately, be it in an argument or to win a breaking ball that might turn a game. His display in the Munster final was one of the great performances."
Clubmate Jack O'Connor, under whom O'Sullivan won three of his five Celtic Crosses, pronounced: "He will go down as one of the truly great Kerry players and as well as the contribution he made to the county, he was also a great clubman with both Dromid Pearses and South Kerry as well as with his school, Coláiste na Sceilge. He was a fantastic player, even at a very young age, and one of the great Kerry forwards of all time - there's no question about that."
pMARK LANDERS is the new coach of the Cork hurlers. Landers, who skippered Cork to the 1999 All-Ireland title and coached this year's county minors, replaces Kieran Kingston who had quit because of work commitments.