All-Star Karl Lacey brings an end to glittering Donegal career

Donegal’s most decorated footballer, Karl Lacey, has retired from intercounty football.

The Four Masters clubman has decided to call time on a glittering 14-year career that saw him win almost every major prize in Gaelic football.

He was named footballer of the year when Donegal won the All-Ireland title in 2012, and also got his hands on the Anglo Celt Cup on three occasions for winning the Ulster Senior Championship.

He played 148 times for the county senior team, and shares the record for championship appearances with Christy Toye having pulled on the Donegal jersey 65 times.

The four-time All-star winner also won the National League with Donegal, played for the Irish International Rules team on two occasions, and won three interprovincial titles with Ulster.

He also won the Sigerson Cup twice with IT Sligo, and the Donegal Senior Championship with Four Masters.

He has confirmed he will continue to play with his club.

Speaking on Ocean FM last week, Lacey said that despite a disappointing championship campaign this year, the future looked bright for Donegal football…

Lacey issued the following statement to announce his retirement…

“Having allowed some dust to settle on our season, I now feel ready to announce my retirement from the Donegal senior football team.

“I have experienced almost everything with the Donegal footballers over these past 14 seasons and more, from desperate defeats to the crowning glory winning the Sam Maguire in 2012 and everything in between.

“They are games and days and friendships that will live with me forever.

“I am thankful for the opportunities given to me over the course of my career, and grateful to the players who played alongside me and the coaches who guided me throughout it.

“With them, I was able to win League, Ulster, All-Ireland and individual honours, and for that I very thankful. In addition to my time with Donegal, I was honoured to be selected for my country and play in the 2006 and 2011 International Rules series.

“Now, I embark on a different phase of my life – that of a former county footballer.

“I will continue to play with Four Masters, with whom I first kicked a ball and with whom I will kick my last.

“I am enjoying increased responsibility in my job at LYIT and I have enjoyed dipping my toe into coaching in recent times, most recently with the Donegal development squads.

“I am soon to be married to my fiancee Ciara. Our son Noah has been a light in both our lives. They have made many sacrifices so that I could continue to pursue my intercounty career and I am eternally grateful to them for that.”

A statement on behalf of Donegal GAA read: “Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Dhún na nGall wishes to acknowledge the contribution of Karl Lacey to our county teams over the course of 14 seasons at adult level.

“Donegal’s most decorated footballer, Karl has been a tremendous ambassador for the county throughout that time, and was rightly honoured with four All-Star awards and the ultimate Footballer of the Year award in 2012.

“He was, of course, an integral part of the Donegal squad that brought such success to the county over recent years on the provincial and national stages. The exploits of that team, and the joy it brought to Donegal people at home and abroad will live long in the memory.

“As well as playing with the seniors this year, Karl also served as a strength and conditioning coach with the county under-age development squads. We are delighted that he is giving the benefit of his experience to the next generation of Donegal footballers.

“We extend every good wish to Karl in his retirement.”