Kilkenny was reeling this morning following the shock news that star defender, J.J. Delaney was retiring from the senior inter-county game.
The Fenians (Johnstown) defender won his ninth All-Ireland medal in September’s All-Ireland final win over Tipperary, and during that match he executed one of the finest ‘hooks’ ever seen in the ancient game.
“J.J. will be a huge loss to Kilkenny,” insisted Kilkenny County Board chairman, Ned Quinn. “He has been a colossus during his 14 years with the senior team.
“His hook in the All-Ireland final in September will go down in the history of hurling as one of the finest pieces of skill ever seen in the game. He is one of a kind and he leaves the stage having proved his greatness beyond all doubt.”
Delaney, who celebrated his 32nd birthday in April, joined the Kilkenny senior panel in 2001. He retires have won nine senior All-Irelands, 10 Leinster championships, eight National Leagues, five Walsh Cups, six All-Star awards and two Railway Cups with Leinster.
Delaney was the Hurler of the Year in 2003. He started out as a corner-bck with Kilkenny but manager, Brian Cody, always felt he could rely on Delaney to do a job anywhere in defence and in recent he employed him to great effect at full-back.
His father, Shem was a senior All-Ireland medal winner and so too were his uncles, Billy Fitzpatrick and the late Pat Delaney.
Delaney is the fifth Kilkenny player to retire in recent weeks. He follows Tommy Walsh, Brian Hogan, Aidan Fogarty and David Herity into retirement