Kelly is Munster's second most capped player (behind Anthony Foley) having won the first of his 153 competitive caps in the Heineken Cup game against Cardiff in Musgrave Park in September 1997 and he remains their joint second top try scorer in the Heineken Cup with 14 tries. In addition 15 tries in 60 Magners League appearances leaves him Munster's second highest try scorer in that competition.
Educated at St Francis Capuchine College, Cork and UCC, he represented Irish Universities in 1994, the Combined Provinces in 1998 (v South Africa Musgrave Park) before making his Ireland A debut in February 2000.
In March 2002, he won the first of 17 international, scoring two tries against Italy at Lansdowne Road and finished his international career at RWC 2003.
Kelly appeared in three Heineken Cup finals. His last appearance in a Munster jersey was against Saracens in a pre-season friendly at Musgrave Park in September
"It has been a privilege to represent Munster for the last ten years," Kelly said, " I have enjoyed my time in the squad on both a professional and personal level, and I will look back on my career with great satisfaction and fond memories" .
Munster coach Declan Kidney commented, "Over the past ten years John Kelly epitomised everything that is good about Munster Rugby. He is (was) exceptionally hard working, extremely talented, and always a team player. It is always sad when a player comes to the end of his rugby career and he will be missed. We all wish him every success in his future career."