Tuesday 12 December 2017

Cavanagh leads the tributes as McMahon signs off

Red Hand veteran Joe McMahon has announced his retirement from the inter-county game. Photo: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Red Hand veteran Joe McMahon has announced his retirement from the inter-county game. Photo: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Tyrone captain Sean Cavanagh led the tributes after Red Hand veteran Joe McMahon announced his retirement from the inter-county game.

McMahon admitted defeat in his ongoing battle with injury in a statement yesterday which brought the curtain down on a decorated career that started back in 2004.

And on hearing the news Cavanagh described the Omagh St Enda's man as "the best all-round player I have come across".

"All the best in retirement to Big Joe. A great friend and team-mate the last 16 years. The best all round player I have come across," he tweeted.

McMahon was dogged by injury of late and hadn't played for Tyrone since the 2015 All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kerry, when he sustained a groin injury in the process of kicking a point.

Read more: Two-time All-Ireland winner Joe McMahon calls time on his inter-county career with Tyrone

He returned to action over the weekend, featuring as a sub for his club, but in his statement, admitted that a return to county action was beyond him.

"I have pushed myself to the limits working closely with the Tyrone medical team but I have to accept the reality that it is my body which is saying it's game over," he said

"Hopefully though, I will still be able to play with my club.

"The combination of injuries over the last two years and the struggle to respond to treatment to gain the fitness required at this level has compelled me to call time on my inter-county career.

"I was very fortunate to have played with and against some of the greatest players to have graced the game and under one the GAA's greatest managers, Mickey Harte.

"I am so indebted to those who helped me along the way - my wife Geraldine and I must mention my children Aoibhe, Anna and Joseph, my parents, family, friends and my club Omagh St Enda's, my former schools Omagh CBS and St Conor's PS and St Mary's College Belfast.

"I acknowledge the support of the Tyrone backroom teams and the friendship of Mickey Moynagh over the years.

"The GPA has also been a great help in time of need.

"I can reflect now on the elements that make Tyrone such a passionate county for its football - the county board, Club Tyrone and the loyal supporters with their families. I thank all of them for the generosity of their time and resources and for the brilliant memories shared.

"I wish all my colleagues in the 2017 squad every success for the Championship ahead. I say to them, enjoy all your days with Tyrone. There is no greater honour than pulling on the jersey."

The versatile McMahon lined out in defence, midfield and attack for Tyrone and he departs the stage having won All-Ireland medals in 2005 and '08, making 122 appearances in all.

Irish Independent

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