By Brian Murphy
Kilkenny legend Tommy Walsh has announced his retirement from inter-county hurling with Kilkenny.
The nine-time All Star announced his decision on KCLR yesterday morning.
"I wish to announce my retirement from intercounty hurling. For the last 13 years I have had the time of my life, lived my dream and have memories that will stay with me forever," he said in a statement read out live on air.
"Firstly and most importantly I want to sincerely thank my wife and family for their continuous encouragement, support and drive throughout my intercounty career.
"I have been very fortunate and privileged to play along side terrific teammates and I thank them for being just that. It was also an absolute honour to play against many outstanding hurlers from all over the country.
"I would like to thank Brian Cody for his loyalty throughout all my years with Kilkenny and for believing in me as a player.
"Most importantly I want to thank each one of the management teams since 2002 for their support and advice, also the medics, back room staff and especially the one and only Rakard Cody who has been a great friend to us all.
"The county board have always been hugely supportive and have always put the players first, this of which I will never forget as it laid the foundations for our recent success. Equally I would like to thank my employers Bank Of Ireland for their understanding and support throughout my intercounty career.
"Thanks to my friends and mentor from outside the county set up, who challenged and supported me as well as always being there for advice when I needed it most. This I will never forget.
"Last but not least I finally want to thank the supporters. From day one they showered me with support. I will never forget their continued encouragement, especially in my final year, simply thank you.
"I wish the management and players continued success for the coming years."
Walsh, 31, made the last of his 54 championship appearances for the Cats in the Leinster semi-final replay win over Galway in June.
Although he didn't feature in the latter stages of Kilkenny's championship campaign, the Tullaroan man collected his ninth Celtic Cross after September's All-Ireland final replay win over Tipperary.
He made his championship debut against Dublin in the Leinster Championship on June 8, 2003, starting at wing-forward.
However, it was in the half-back line that Walsh excelled and he became synonymous with the No. 5 jersey.
Perhaps his greatest achievement was winning nine consecutive All Stars, from his debut season in 2003 aged 20, right through to 2011. He remains the only player in the history of the GAA to achieve that feat.
Walsh also won the Hurler of the Year award in 2009.
Article Source: www.gaa.ie