BRYAN Cullen, Dublin's All-Ireland winning captain in 2011 and not yet turned 31, is the latest big-name player to walk away from the inter-county game.
The Skerries player was a natural leader who had the distinction of captaining Dublin at minor, U-21 and senior level and also captained an Irish U-17 touring team to Australia, plus DCU to their first Sigerson title.
He was centre-back when he captained Dublin to the All-Ireland U-21 title in 2003 but played largely in the half-forwards in his versatile senior career.
Cullen finished his glittering career with two senior All-Irelands, nine Leinster titles and two National League medals plus senior international honours and three Leinster U-21 titles.
His last appearance was off the bench for Michael Darragh Macauley in last summer's Leinster semi-final.
Cullen announced his retirement with a short statement on the Dublin website, saying: "I've been fortunate enough to represent Dublin at senior level since 2003 but I feel now is the time to step away.
"I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Dublin managers Tommy Lyons, Pillar Caffrey, Pat Gilroy and Jim Gavin and especially to all the Dublin players past and present that I had the pleasure of sharing the pitch with."
Such was his dedication to the Dublin cause, Cullen gave up golf in recent years, believing that it was too energy-sapping to mix with inter-county training.
But he stressed yesterday that he hopes to line out for Skerries Harps for several more seasons, and that may include a dual role as he is also a talented hurler.
With a PhD in physiology, Cullen has been working for Leinster rugby since late 2011 and was promoted to lead strength and conditioning coach with their academy last summer.
Cullen's departure will increase interest in whether Alan Brogan, another of that 2003 U-21 team, will continue.
Elsewhere, Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney has given forward ace Jamie Clarke, who came off the bench last week, a most unusual left half-back berth for tomorrow's McKenna Cup tie with Antrim.