Kerry football legend Paul Galvin has shocked GAA fans with his decision to quit the Kingdom squad.
Named as a substitute for Saturday night’s National League defeat to Dublin, Galvin failed to show at Croke Park.
Speaking minutes after the 2-8 to 1-10 loss, Kerry manager Eamon Fitzmaurice confirmed that his Finuge team-mate has opted to retire from the county team.
The All-Ireland winner later confirmed the decision when he released a statement on his personal website.
Three time All-Star Galvin said: “I am proud to say I won All Irelands for Kerry and I am satisfied that I gave the cause everything I had in me.”
Basing the decision on his relocation to Dublin and other time commitments, the four time All-Ireland winner added: “I would like to sincerely thank the Kerry County Board and Kerry Group for their support over the years, the 4 managers I played under for placing their faith in me, my family, and of course, the proud Kerry supporters who demanded our best at all times. There were days when you played with us too.
“More importantly I want to thank all my team-mates for your heart and friendship over the years. Standing my ground with you in the Kerry jersey was my privilege.
“I learned more from you than anyone and I am grateful for the opportunity I got to play with some of the best players to ever play the game.
“Having discussed it with the management during the week we felt it best to announce it after tonight’s game.
“Finally I want to thank Eamon and wish him, the management team and my brothers on the Kerry team the very best luck for 2014.”
Kerry have now lost nine of the team that started the 2009 All-Ireland final to retirement.
And boss Fitzmaurice was quick to praise his club-mate Gavin after the first game of the 2014 league season.
He said: “Paul has been a fantastic servant to Kerry. He came back for one more go this year but found the travelling to and from his Dublin base for training too difficult. He is happy with his decision.
“The way he played the game for a lot of years, he took a lot of knocks and his body, he minds it very well, he lives like a monk. At the same time, it just required a lot of taking care of as well.
“Logistically, his life is in Dublin now and trying to split your time as an inter-county footballer between Dublin and Kerry, it was going to be difficult, it was going to be challenging.
“So like I said, there’s no regrets on Paul’s part and there’s certainly no regrets on my part. He had a look a it, he tried it out for the five or six weeks and it was just proving too difficult really.
“In fairness to Paul he’s always been very, very committed to the cause, club and county, he’ll still play a bit of club football with Finuge I’m sure. He’s a very whole hearted guy. His highlights reel, there’ll be plenty of highs and plenty of lows.
“There were certainly no half measures with him anyway. He had a fantastic career. He broke into the team in 2004 as a kind of a hard-working wing-forward.
“He had a ferocious appetite for improvement. He kept improving himself and he developed himself into a player, he became Footballer of the Year by 2009.
“He’s a great guy, he’s a good friend of mine. He’s a lot of very admirable characteristics, he’s a very honest person both on and off the field.
“He gave fantastic service to Kerry and he’s given fantastic service to the various clubs as well, with Finuge, with Lixnaw, with Feale Rangers, with UCC. He’s had a great time of it and there’s certainly no regrets.”