Thursday 22 March 2018

Molloy forced to quit

Graeme Molloy in action against Derry's Mark Lynch during his final inter-county Senior game in Owenbeg last July
Graeme Molloy in action against Derry's Mark Lynch during his final inter-county Senior game in Owenbeg last July

Brendan Furlong

Graeme Molloy, last year's Wexford Senior football team captain, has been forced to bring his inter-county career to an end.

The St. James' clubman has to hang up his boots after surgeons advised him last week that his knee could no longer take the strain of being a top level footballer.

Molloy, who missed out on last year's Allianz League campaign as he recuperated from a knee operation, managed to get in some game time in the provincial championship along with the qualifiers.

However, having played out a long season as he helped his club to a first-ever county Senior football championship title, the strain eventually took its toll.

When I spoke to the 30-year-old on Sunday night, he admitted that he had known his time at the top level was drawing to a close, as he encountered severe pain and difficulty following training and games.

'I will not be lining out for my county again. I visited the surgeons last week. They told me there is nothing more they can do. I've no cartilage left in the knee, it's simply bone-on-bone,' he explained.

'I kind of knew coming towards the end of the season the day was coming. The season now is so long, playing inter-county and then playing both football and hurling for my club. I suppose I always held out hope but the pain was becoming more severe.

'There's no way the knee could hold up to the intense training to compete at the top level of football. I would have been unable to do the necessary training,' he admitted.

'With that in mind there's no way forward for me, as without the necessary preparation I was not going to be able to play at this level, so it would not have been fair just to hang on from game to game.

'I informed David (Power) of the surgeons' prognosis last week. I told him I was retiring from inter-county but perhaps I may be able to get in another year with the club. I just don't know.

'I will rest the knee now, but rest is not going to cure it, as the surgeons told me there is nothing more they can do. I will possibly be facing a knee replacement at a later date.

'It's been forced on me. It's not a decision I wanted to make. I was told that to have a quality of life going forward that I would have to give up inter-county football. It's not something you expect to hear at the age of 30, but the curtain has been brought down on my inter-county career.

'While I'm holding out some hope that I'll be able to play some football for the club, it's something I won't know until I try the knee again.'

Having made his Senior inter-county debut in 2006, Molloy missed out on the 2007 and 2008 campaigns through a Gilmore's groin injury while he also suffered from a pelvic bone problem.

'It's simply wear and tear,' he said. 'I've no cartilage left in my knee. I've had so much done to try to get it right but the knee simply cannot take any more. I struggled last season, made it back for the inter-county and club championship but I found it quite difficult at times.

'For me to live a normal life it will possibly mean surgery down the line once again and a knee replacement. That's something for the future,' he added.

Enniscorthy Guardian