On the basis of medical advice following hip surgery, Kieran McKenna has taken the decision to end his professional playing career.
The athletic and combative midfielder joined the Club full-time on a scholarship in July 2002 before turning professional in August 2003. He graduated through our Academy ranks to become a reserve team regular - captaining the team on a number of occasions - and was instrumental in Clive Allen's side winning the Barclays Premier Reserve League South in 2005-06.
A persistent hip problem prevented him pressing his first team claims and limited the now 22-year-old to just 18 competitive outings in our colours since the beginning of the 2006-07 season. During this time Kieran did, however, captain the Northern Ireland Under-21 side on six occasions - adding to the caps he won at U14, U16, U19 and U20 level.
"I have to say that it has been a real pleasure working with Kieran over the last four or five years since he came through the youth team into the professional ranks," said Development Coach Clive Allen. "He is a player and person that you know every single day, whether training or playing, was 100 per cent committed about everything he did.
"That is why it is so disappointing and sad that he suffered an injury that has curtailed his career. Knowing the lad and the type of person he is, he will do very well in whatever he decides to do.
"We will look to help him in any way we can, but it is with real sadness that I am talking about him like this because I loved the character of the person and his commitment. I have to say that you wouldn't go far wrong if you had 11 of the Kieran McKenna-type in your team.
"He did everything he possibly could to get back but he had to make the decision. He's now moved on, doors will open for him and he will take the opportunities that come his way."
Kieran is now aiming to pursue qualifications in both coaching and sports science and we wish him every success for the future.