Laois’s longest serving footballer has announced his retirement from the inter-county game.
In 2023, Ross Munnelly will not represent the Laois senior footballers – ending a streak of unbroken service that goes all the way back to 2003.
The Arles-Kilcruise forward, who will turn 40 later this month, announced the news on Twitter this morning.
He thanked Kerry native Mick O’Dwyer for giving him his debut and beginning a stunning amount of service.
He said: “I write this note with a smile as the time feels right to conclude my inter-county career.
“Thank you Micko for giving me the chance to achieve my dream of playing for Laois in 2003. It has been both a privilege and an honour.
“My family have been my most loyal supporters and greatest inspiration.
“I will be forever grateful to my club Arels-Kilcruise and all the amazing people I shared the last 20 seasons with.
“An amazing experience with learnings and friendships that will last forever.
“Happy Christmas and thank you.”
Munnelly’s decision to bring an end to his incredible county career ends the link to the 2003 Leinster-winning team.
At 20, he was the youngest member of that side, having broken on to the team under Mick O’Dwyer during the run to that season’s Division 1 league final.
He was also the last player in Leinster outside of Dublin to be an active holder of a provincial medal.
Statistically, he was the record holder in terms of appearances for Laois, in league and championship, having played 222 competitive games for the county, well clear of second-placed Michael Lawlor, who played 168 times.
He made his first championship start against Wexford in the opening round of that 2003 Leinster campaign and scored a goal in the final win over Kildare.
He continued to be an ever-present through the Mick O’Dwyer years and in all played under ten Laois managers – Liam Kearns, Sean Dempsey, Justin McNulty, Tomas O Flatharta, Mick Lillis, Peter Creedon, John Sugrue, Mike Quirke and Billy Sheehan.
His last appearance came as a sub in this year’s Tailteann Cup loss to Westmeath.
Laois played 19 competitive games last year and Munnelly featured in 17.
Happy retirement Ross – we are unlikely to ever see the likes of you again!