Saturday 22 July 2017

Finlay calls time on 14-year Monaghan career

Monaghan's Paul Finlay. Photo: Sportsfile
Monaghan's Paul Finlay. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Monaghan attacker Paul Finlay has confirmed his retirement from inter-county football.

The Ballybay man follows another colleague with long service, Dick Clerkin, who announced his departure earlier this month.

Finlay was one of the most stylish forwards in Ulster over the last decade-and-a-half.

He made his championship debut against then All-Ireland champions Armagh in a preliminary round fixture in May 2003 and, handed the responsibility of taking frees, he contributed eight points as one of the biggest shocks in the province for many years unfolded.

"I'm comfortable with the decision. I've been thinking of it for a while. I know it's the right time," he said.

His involvement in this year's championship was limited to an appearance off the bench against Down.

Finlay was a central figure in Monaghan's resurgence under Seamus McEnaney between 2005 and 2010, playing in both Ulster final defeats to Tyrone in 2007 and 2010.

He offered versatility between midfield and a variety of attacking positions and enjoyed great accuracy off his left foot.

He started the 2013 Ulster final as Monaghan brought a 25-year wait without a provincial title to an end by beating then All-Ireland champions Donegal.

"Getting over the line in that match is an obvious career highlight after so many disappointments. It was very important for that group that we did that," he recalled.

"I suppose the scenes on the pitch afterwards will always stand out for me," he reflected.

Irish Independent

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