Killarney Legion clubmates Jonathan Lyne and Brian Kelly will both be unavailable for selection for Kerry in 2021 after announcing their respective retirements from the intercounty scene earlier this week.
Lyne had been a member of the Kerry set-up since 2011 while Kelly made his debut in 2012, and both were part of the All-Ireland winning side of 2014.
The news came as somewhat of a surprise to Kerry supporters, many of whom took to social media to thank the long-serving players for their dedication to the green and gold jersey.
Lyne, a versatile player who could operate in defence or attack, made a very significant contribution to that successful 2014 campaign when he came off the bench in the semi-final replay against Mayo and kicked two inspirational scores in extra-time. The match is affectionately remembered by Kerry fans as one of the team’s finest results of the last decade.
The 30-year-old schoolteacher followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Denny, and granduncles, Jackie, Michael and Teddy, all of whom represented Kerry with great distinction in the past.
In a tweet signaling his intention to opt out of the Kerry camp, Lyno, as he is affectionately known, said that playing for Kerry had been “a true honour”.
“The right time has come for me to finish up my Kerry journey and retire. It has been a true honour to represent my family, friends, club and Kerry people. I’m looking forward to supporting the lads just like these 3 legends that I lost this year always supported me #CiarraíAbú.”
The tweet also contained photographs of the three people in question, namely his brother Damien, friend and teammate Derek Twomey and grandfather Arthur O’Keeffe, all of whom tragically died in 2020.
The right time has come for me to finish up my Kerry journey and retire. It has been a true honour to represent my family, friends, club and Kerry people. I'm looking forward to supporting the lads just like these 3 legends that I lost this year always supported me. #CiarraíAbú pic.twitter.com/Hb5CkKKT0u
— Jonathan Lyne (@Jonathan_Lyne) January 1, 2021
Goalkeeper Kelly was an ever-present for Eamonn Fitzmaurice throughout the 2014 championship and he kept a clean sheet in the Munster final, All-Ireland quarter-final and All-Ireland final against Donegal.
He dropped to the bench for the 2015 championship but regained his place for 2016 and 2017. In 2018 he had to settle for No. 16 again, but he was drafted in towards the end of the year for the Super 8 matches against Monaghan and Kildare.
The Ardshanavooly native was generally a substitute under Peter Keane but he did make a couple of appearances in the league, his final one coming against Meath in Killarney last February.
In a statement released via the Kerry GAA website, Kelly said he had lived out his dream.
“The time is right for me to step away from intercounty football. I would like to acknowledge all the management and backroom teams, the County Board and Kerry Group for their support over the last nine years.
“As a teenager growing up in Killarney I sold match programmes on Munster final days and dreamed of one day climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand to lift Sam Maguire. Thankfully I have lived out my dream and I am proud to have played my small part in the Kerry GAA history books.
“This would not have been possible without the help of my teammates, family, friends, girlfriend, my club Killarney Legion and my employer, O’Carroll Engineering. I am especially grateful for your guidance and encouragement down through the years.
“A final thank you to the Kerry fans for their unwavering support. I look forward to cheering on the team with you in 2021.”
Lyne and Kelly will now turn their attention to the club scene, and the Killarney Legion will be hoping that Kerry’s loss will be their gain.
Meanwhile, another member of the victorious 2014 team has also decided to retire from intercounty football. Defender Shane Enright from Tarbert is calling it a day, citing a persistent back injury and lack of game time as factors.
Pics: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.