Former Kerry Bosses Pay Tribute To Colm Cooper

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Colm Cooper.

TRIBUTES have been paid to Colm Cooper on the announcement of his retirement from inter-county football this morning.

His former managers Jack O’Connor and Eamonn Fitzmaurice have both released statements on the Dr Crokes man’s retirement.

“On behalf of the players and management I would like to congratulate Colm Cooper on his retirement from inter county football,” says Fitzmaurice.

“He has been an incredible servant to the green and gold since his debut 15 years ago in a division 2 League final in 2002 where he scored a goal with his first touch of the ball which set the tone for what was to follow. His list of honours outlines what an illustrious career he has had.

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I was lucky enough to have both played with and managed him. As a player when on the ball in matches I looked for him and in training I tended to steer clear of him. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him as manager. When I first took over Kerry one of the main things I wanted to do for the 2013 season was to release Colm from the confines of the inside line and allow him to express himself from centre forward. It was a fresh challenge for him and he set about learning the intricacies of his new position with gusto.

His awareness and decision making is on a different level. His ability to slow everything down for a second, his skills and of course that bit of magic he possesses with a feint or a dummy is what makes him so unique.

His iron will to win and his leadership abilities shone through also. While recovering from a serious injury during the summer of 2014 he helped to drive the squad towards the All Ireland which depicted what a team player he was.

He was one of the few players that managed to transcend county loyalties and was a player that people from all over the country loved to watch. He has given us all countless hours of enjoyment. I wish him all the best for the future on and off the field,” said Fitzmaurice.

Jack O’Connor said there will never be another player like Colm Cooper.

“It was a privilege for me to work with Colm Cooper. He was the most intelligent player I have ever seen. I remember saying one time that Cooper had forgotten more about football than the rest of us will ever know.

He always thought a couple of steps ahead of everyone else. Outside of his brilliance and his fantastic individual scores what was remarkable about Colm was that he got more satisfaction out of making a score than getting one himself. In that regard he was totally without ego and a complete team player.

He should stay involved in Kerry football in some capacity because we can’t afford to lose the kind of intelligence that he has. For now, thanks for the great memories Colm – there will never be another one like you,” said O’Connor.

Tim Murphy, Chairman of the Kerry County Board also paid tribute to “one of the most iconic figures in the history of Gaelic football”.

“There is an old saying that ‘Good players inspire themselves but Great players inspire others’. Colm, not only inspired his fellow teammates on the field of play, but generations of people, young and old – all over Ireland and beyond.

He captured the hearts and minds of people of all ages, is instantly recognisable and one of the most admired and revered Gaelic footballers of all time. Words cannot adequately capture the contribution that Colm has made to our County.”

Dr Crokes Chairman, Denis Coleman, said: “Colm Cooper always was, and still is, a fantastic clubman. He comes from a family that has made a tremendous contribution over the years to our club and many continue to play a key role coaching within the club.

Colm, probably the most gifted footballer of his generation, never forgot where he came from and has always made himself available whenever needed by the club,” said Denis Coleman.

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