Lacey played for Donegal for fourteen seasons - his greatest year arrived in 2012 when he was part of Jim McGuinness's All-Ireland winning side and was later in the season named Footballer of the Year.
He won three Ulster titles with Donegal in 2011, 2012, and 2014.
He released the following statement:
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
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 inter county career and I am eternally
grateful to them for that.
Meanwhile, Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Dhún na nGall said it wished to acknowledge the
contribution of Karl Lacey to the county teams over the course of 14
seasons at adult level.
In a statment it said:
Donegal’s most decorated footballer, Karl has been a tremendous
ambassador for the county throughout that time, and was rightly
honoured with 4 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.