Kilkenny legend and nine time All-Ireland senior hurling winner Jackie Tyrrell has announced his retirement from the inter-county game. The 34 year old James Stephens clubman who made his senior championship debut in 2005 against Offaly in a Leinster clash in Croke Park finishes with an incredible 10 Leinster titles, 4 All Stars, 6 National Leagues and an and U21 All Ireland to name just some of his achievements from a glittering career. He also captained the U21 side in 2003 and the seniors in 2006, the first title in the infamous Kilkenny 4 in a row.
However in recent seasons the man mountain who dominated many exchanges in his left corner back decision has been plagued by injury problems and, in a statement on the Kilkenny GAA website, outlined his reasons for calling an end to a glittering career.
“After careful consideration and reflection I have decided that now is the right time for me to announce my retirement from inter county hurling with the Kilkenny senior hurling team. I am making this decision comfortable in the knowledge that I never settled for anything less than giving it my very best. I fought to the end and I never gave up until the contest was over.
“Being part of the Kilkenny senior hurling panel for the past fourteen years has been an unbelievable journey that has given me endless fulfilment, satisfaction, enjoyment and happiness. I have had the privilege of playing with and against some of the greatest sportsmen of our time. I cherish the friendships I have made all over the country. There were many challenges along the way but these became my opportunities and motivation to strive even harder to achieve my very best.
“My parents, my sisters and brother and my girlfriend, Clare, have been my greatest inspiration and encouragement on my journey and no words can express my gratitude to them.
“I consider myself lucky to have played under the greatest GAA manager of all time, Brian Cody. I thank him and his management teams for their confidence in me right up to the present time. I wish them and the Kilkenny panel the very best in the future.
“I also wish to thank Ned Quinn and the Kilkenny County Board, the Kilkenny Supporters Club, the GPA and the countless Kilkenny fans, each who in their own way encouraged me every step of the way during my intercounty career
“My employer, Glanbia, have accommodated me in every way possible over the years and for that I am very grateful.
“I also wish to acknowledge and thank Br. Damien Brennan for his role in my development as player and as a person. He challenged me to embrace my talents in order to bring my best to every situation and achieve things I would have never thought possible.
“I now intend to dedicate myself and the rest of my playing career to my beloved James Stephen’s. It was there that my desire to play the game that I love at the highest level was nurtured and developed.
“Today is not the end but the continuation of a journey, a new beginning, which I intend to fully embrace knowing now that any realistic dream can become a reality.”