Marc Ó Sé has described Colm Cooper as the best player he’s ever had the pleasure of teaming up with.
The Kerry legend will confirm his retirement later today.
He bows out just weeks after adding the club All Ireland title to his list of accolades having helped Dr Crokes to victory on St Patrick's Day.
In the green and gold of Kerry, he made his debut in 2002 before going in to win 4 All-Ireland senior football medals, 4 national league titles and 9 Munster championships.
His former Kerry teammate O'Se was the first to pay tribute to the legend:
“He had such a fantastic career, it was lovely that he finished it off with Dr Crokes winning the All Ireland club medal that he so desperately wanted and tried for so many years to get his hands on it.
“The scene was set for him to bow out at the highest level, he was absolutely incredible and for me he has to go down as the greatest player I’ve ever played with bar none.
“Marking him in training as a young lad when he came in at 19-years of age we both came onto the Kerry team at the same time.
“Every night you’d go in marking him in training you’d come out puzzled because he just had every skill known to man, he’d challenge you in every way.
“There’d be some nights I’d go home and wouldn’t get a sleep at all thinking of the night I had marking the Gooch or trying to mark the Gooch.
“He was an incredible footballer, I don’t think we’ll ever see the likes of him in this county again.”
Statement by Colm Cooper
Today I wish to announce my retirement from the Kerry Senior Football team. 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.