String of Mayo players bow out of inter-county game

GAA: News

Tom Parsons was one of a number of Mayo players to announce their retirement from the inter-county game this week. Photo: Sportsfile.

Tom Parsons was one of a number of Mayo players to announce their retirement from the inter-county game this week. Photo: Sportsfile.

This week has seen an outpouring of gratitude for a number of Mayo players who have announced their retirement from the inter-county game.

On Sunday, Donal Vaughan was the first of the players to announce his departure from the scene. This was followed on Monday by David Clarke, then on Tuesday by Tom Parsons and on Wednesday by Seamus O'Shea.

Vaughan made his debut for Mayo in 2009 and played 117 scoring 3-41 times for the the county with 58 of those in the championship, he won seven Connacht titles and on National League as a senior, along with two u21 Connacht titles. His first championship game was against New York in 2009 with his final championship outing coming against Dublin in the 2019 All Ireland semi-final.

The Castlebar Mitchels man said: "It is with a heavy heart that I have come to the decision that the time is now right to hang up my boots. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the army of Mayo fans for all of their support over the years - especially to those who took the time to send me cards, letters and messages.

"I would like to thank all of my current and previous management, medical, county board officers and support teams who have helped me over the years. I would also like to thank all of the people who helped to develop me as a footballer from an early age."

He also added: "To my fellow teammates who I have soldiered with over the last twelve years, it has been an honour and a privilege to wear the green and red alongside you with pride, men of outstanding character and relentless drive. Finally, I would like to acknowledge how tough a year this has been for everybody. Stay strong and stay safe. Maigh Eo Abú."

David Clarke had an astonishing two decades representing the county at senior level. During that time he played 133 times for the county, 56 of those in championship games. During that stint he won eight Connacht senior titles, two National Football Leagues and was twice an All Star along with three Connacht u21 titles and an All Ireland club medal with Ballina Stephenites in 2005.

Speaking about his decision, Clarke said: "I have decided it is the right time for me to step away from the Mayo Senior Football team. I have lived my dream and taken so much from the experience.

"I want to thank all of my past managers, coaches, medical staff and county board officials, from when I was U16, minor, U21 and senior. I’d like to give a special mention to my goalkeeper coaches Eugene Lavin, Peter Burke and Tom Higgins, who helped bring out the best in me.

"I’m grateful to my club, Ballina Stephenites, their coaches and my school teachers who helped me develop as a player and to love the game."

He also added: "To the Mayo supporters, thank you for the support, it does make a difference. Finally, to all the players I have played with, it was an honour to wear the jersey with you. I now look forward to giving more time to my club and returning to being a Mayo fan again."

Charlestown's Tom Parsons made his last appearance for Mayo as a sub in their All Ireland semi-final win over Tipperary last December. That was his 84th appearance for the county and his 36th championship game. He made his debut in 2008 in the league against Derry. Parsons won three Connacht titles and on National Football League during his senior career as well as three Connacht u21 titles along with being an International Rules player for Ireland.

Parsons said: "It’s time to say goodbye and announce my retirement from Mayo football. Since 2008, it has been a privilege to play for Mayo and our amazing Gaelic games. It has been a journey that has filled my life with joy, passion, some-heartache, resilience and meaning. An experience that I’ll cherish forever.

"To teammates past and present, it’s been an honour to battle alongside you, your never-give-in attitude for our county and the game is infectious – all I can say is Respect.

"To the GAA community, county boards, coaches, management and backroom teams, thank you for every ounce of support and encouragement along the way, you give so much for the development of others, that is what life is all about.

"I’ll be forever grateful to my club, Charlestown Sarsfields’, who inspired and helped me grow as a player from grassroots to the current day and to the GPA for their continued support on and off the pitch."

He concluded by saying: "To the resilient people of Mayo, I can still hear your voices ringing in my ears from the stands of McHale Park to Croker, you are what make our games special. It’s been an absolute honour to represent you. Maigh Eo Abu."

On Wednesday, Seamus O'Shea became the fourth player to announce his retirement from the Mayo set up. O'Shea played for Mayo for 13 years, making his debut against Derry in 2008 in the league and made his championship debut in 2010 against Sligo. In all, the Breaffy man played 96 times for Mayo, with 51 of those coming in the championship.

He finished up his inter-county career with seven Connacht senior titles, one national football league and an All Ireland u21 winner's medal from 2006.

In his retirement statement O'Shea said: "After 13 years, I would like to announce my retirement from the Mayo senior football team.

"I'm hugely grateful to everyone who has supported me throughout my career. I would like to thank my family and friends for their constant support and encouragement as well as my club Breaffy for nurturing my development.

"I would also like to thank all of my former teammates, management teams, coaches, medical staff, supporters and everyone who has been involved in this journey.

"I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have played for Mayo alongside an extraordinary group of players. I'm thankful that I've had the opportunity to do it for so long and I've loved every minute of it. Mayo football is in good hands and I look forward to watching my former teammates compete and win over the coming years."

 

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