Robbie Kiely was a hugely impressive performer and leader for Tipperary. Photo: Bridget Delaney

Robbie Kiely retires from inter-county football

By Shane Brophy

Another key player from Tipperary’s recent successful period in Gaelic Football has called it a day with Robbie Kiely deciding to retire from senior inter-county football after eleven years playing at the highest level for his county.

The half-back came to the fore in 2010 when he helped Tipperary win an historic first Munster under 21 football title when they defeated Kerry in that year’s final in Tralee.

Under then manager John Evans, Robbie was called into the senior squad and made his championship debut against Louth in 2011, from where he went on to play a pivotal role for his team and made a major contribution in every game he played, making twenty championship appearances, scoring 1-3.

His raiding style from half-back was his calling card and he starred in the 2016 campaign when Tipperary reached the All-Ireland semi-final, with Kiely scoring a glorious point from the outside of his right foot in the quarter final win over Galway at Croke Park. He also received an All-Star nomination that year.

The highpoint came in 2020 when Kiely started at wing back as Tipperary captured the Munster senior football title for the first time in 85 years when they defeated Cork at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

However, since then Kiely has been dogged by injury and while he featured in the successful 2022 division 4 promotion push, he missed Tipp’s entire championship campaign.

Paying tribute to the departure of a real leader from the squad, Tipperary manager David Power said he was one of the county’s most talented players.

“Robbie was one of our greatest and most talented players, with a deserved Munster under 21 title win in 2010 earmarking his serious talent,” he began.

“He was pleasure to work with, a player that hugely contributed to Tipperary football.

“After making his senior debut in 2011 he deservedly received an All Star nomination in 2016. Robbie played a key role in 2020, helping the team to their first Munster title in 85 years. His commitment was such that he frequently travelled the byroads of Ireland, mostly from West Cork to Thurles, making four-round trips to and from training, to wear the Tipperary football jersey.

“I was delighted that I had opportunity to manage him and wish him well in his retirement. He leaves Tipperary football with great memories.”

Tipperary Football Committee chairperson Conor O’Dwyer added: “Robbie has been a terrific servant to Tipperary Football for a number of years and can be extremely proud of the contribution he has made in that time. He has had a central role in some of the greatest days in our football history, most notably in the Munster final success of 2020.

“All involved in football in the premier county will no doubt wish him all the very best in whatever the future hold.”