Wednesday 22 May 2019

Flynn to hang up Dubs boots

Ken Phelan

GAA fans in Swords and across Fingal were in shock last week, when Fingallians and Dublin legend Paul Flynn announced his retirement from inter-county football, leaving a legacy of sporting achievement behind him, and marking the end of an era.

Paul (33), a 'phenomenal' player and mentor from Swords, has played with his hometown club Fingallians since six years of age, winning six All-Ireland medals, ten Leinster Championships, and four All-Stars in a row in career that has brought honour and pride to the Swords club.

Speaking after Paul's announcement to the media last week, Chairman of Fingallians, Tony Gordon, explained what the player means to the club: 'Some people describe it as a sad day, but I think we should celebrate his achievements; what he's achieved is just phenomenal.

'As he said himself, it's very easy to just go on, but the body was telling him it was out of juice and that was it.

'You can't keep going, but the years of service he's given, and the mileage he's covered is amazing. He really is a massive ambassador for the whole of Fingal.'

He said: 'The people of Swords and all of Dublin got massive entertainment from Paul over the last twelve years. I can't explain how important he is for the club, that's how big he is.

'He's the type of guy, he'd come into the club, he knows the kids, he's got heroes that are nearly his own age who love him, he has a camp for the kids, and really puts back into Fingallians what he got out of it.'

As a player, Tony said, Paul was simply 'incredible', his control of the ball and his command of the pitch making him an icon for the young Fingallians players and young GAA players around the county.

'There was 'nothing you could fault in his game', Tony said. He described Paul as a 'natural leader' who achieved so much for his club who was 'just a joy to watch playing football.'

Paul has retired from inter-county football, but will continue to play on with Fingallians and wear the club's red and white for quite a long time yet, with many battles still to fight for the ace player from Swords.

Paul Flynn's statement to the media read: 'After 12 proud years wearing the Dublin jersey I have made the difficult decision to step away from the Dublin football panel. It's an enormous privilege to play for your county and I feel incredibly lucky and proud that I got to play for Dublin for as long as I have.

'Since my back surgery last year I've struggled to reach the fitness required for inter county and to reach the standards that I set for myself. While my heart says play on unfortunately my body says it's time to call it a day. I've loved every minute of my journey with Dublin football and to have played in front of its dedicated and passionate supporters has allowed me to make memories that I will cherish forever.'

Fingal Independent