GAELIC GAMES : Fahey calls time on Galway
GARY FAHEY has informed new Galway manager Peter Ford of his decision to retire from inter-county football.
The long-serving full-back, who captained Galway to their All-Ireland final success against Meath in 2001, is quitting because of continued injury problems that have plagued him, particularly last season when he spent much of his time on the sidelines.
Fahey, 32, won All-Ireland medals in 1998 and 2001 and was highly regarded as a tenacious and intelligent defender.
Ford, who took over from John O'Mahony in October, admitted he was "half-expecting it" when Fahey delivered the news.
"I had been speaking to John O'Mahony and he told me that Gary was struggling with injury," said Ford.
"In fairness to Gary he has given 13 years of great service to Galway and he just feels the body isn't up to it any more," he added. "He is also starting to build a house in the new year so that is another big consideration."
Fahey's retirement has been hastened by a troublesome knee that flared up badly this season.
O'Mahony has praised a player who never won an All Star and described him as a great captain and a player who got better as a season progressed.
Galway are back in training and Ford has already assembled a development squad that includes former centre-back John Divilly.
The new manager is confident that Seán Óg De Paor will be available to him for next year's championship despite heading towards his 35th birthday.
De Paor ruptured a cruciate ligament during a training session prior to Galway's championship defeat to Mayo in June and was operated on later in the summer.
Ford feels De Paor's general fitness will stand to him as he recuperates. "He's already back in the gym and I would look forward to seeing him back in February or March."
Fahey's brother Richie is also on the comeback trail. He made a return at the end of last season after a similar operation and will solve some of the defensive conundrums Ford will face.
Kevin Walsh is still considering his future and says he could re-appear next season but it appears that he too has played his last game for Galway.