Legend Mooney looks to the future after calling time on stellar career
Published 08/12/2015 | 02:30
John Mooney has announced his retirement from international cricket, calling time on a career of highs and lows that spanned 182 matches for Ireland and included his never-to-be-forgotten starring role in the World Cup victory over England in 2011.
Probably the most passionate player ever to pull on an Ireland shirt, Mooney will be remembered for striking the winning boundary that famous night in Bangalore and then horrifying Sky TV pundits by charging off the field screaming: "Best f****** day of my life!"
There were other days that came close, notably when he took 10 wickets in the 2013 InterContinental Cup final against Afghanistan.
Mooney, who made his debut in 2001, scored 2,605 runs for Ireland, including a century against The Netherlands and nine fifties, in addition to 144 wickets taken with his lively fast-medium seamers.
On Ireland's recent tour of Zimbabwe, he lost his place for the final ODI in Harare and hinted at his subsequent decision when insisting that he would retire while he was still a central figure, rather than drift on on the periphery.
"At this stage of my life, I'm beginning to think about what comes next, especially making a commitment to my training and fitness business," the 33-year-old explained, after being snapped up to play in the Masters Champions League, a tournament for retired internationals in the UAE.
"I've been playing internationally for 14 years and over the past few seasons the intensity and demands of the modern game have placed a considerable strain on my body.
"I've some fantastic memories having played in three World Cups - the first of which in 2007 included my elder brother Paul. I also had what I described as my 'Ray Houghton moment' hitting the winning runs against England."
While enjoying fabulous highs, he also battled the lows brought on by problems with alcohol and a debilitating stress-related illness that saw him returning early from a tour of the Caribbean in 2014.
Later that year he won praise for airing his demons on a TV chat show, including a haunting description of how he had not only contemplated suicide but planned how he would carry it out.
Controversy also dogged his career but the Ireland dressing room will be diminished by the absence of a player known universally to team-mates and opponents alike as 'Johnboy'.
Meanwhile, as one star fades another two rise, with Kim Garth and Laura Delany heading to Australia to play in The Big Bash after helping Ireland's women win the World T20 qualifying tournament in Thailand.