Wednesday 24 July 2019

'Forever grateful' Meehan calls time on Galway career

Galway duo Finian Hanley and Michael Meehan celebrate after winning the 2008 International Rules Series. Neither are likely to part of the county panel next year. Photo: Sportsfile
Galway duo Finian Hanley and Michael Meehan celebrate after winning the 2008 International Rules Series. Neither are likely to part of the county panel next year. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Galway star Michael Meehan last night confirmed his retirement from inter-county football, following a stellar career with the Tribesmen.

The sharp-shooting forward spent three years on the sidelines before returning to action this year.

"Today I wish to announce my retirement from inter-county football," wrote Meehan in a statement posted on Twitter last night.

"There are so many people that I wish to thank and I will start with my wife Sharon and our children Ruth and Michael; for their unstinting and unconditional support, she and most recently they have been there on every step of the journey.

"To my family and friends, they have willingly put up with a lot from this selfish inter-county player!

"To my team-mates (club and county) who soldiered with me at all levels - it was the best of times, the worst of times, the age of wisdom.

"To the many coaches, managers and selectors who encouraged and inspired me to be the best that I could be, at all ages and stages.

"The medical staff, oh the medical staff! To the vast and varied talented professionals who helped prolong my career, thank you.

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"Sincere thanks to the wider GAA community. Your support during injury and especially at the time of my sister's death was deeply appreciated, underlining what the GAA is all about.

"I will be forever grateful."

Meehan made his debut in 2003, following in the footsteps of brothers Declan and Tomás who won All-Ireland senior titles in 1998 and 2001 under John O'Mahony.

They were to the fore as Caltra won the 2004 All-Ireland club title, with Michael Meehan capturing three Connacht senior medals in 2003, '05 and '08, but his career was hampered by an ankle injury.

Meehan, who won All-Ireland U-21 medals in 2002 and '05, made a surprise return to the Galway squad in the spring but his only championship outing was late off the bench in the qualifier win over Donegal.

It now appears that he is set to bring the curtain down on his inter-county career and could be joined in retirement by full-back Finian Hanley, with neither player returning to winter training.

Hanley suffered a cruciate injury shortly after Galway won the Division 2 league title in the spring having - along with Meehan - been a mainstay of the Galway team for close to 15 years.

Glory

Hanley burst on the scene in 2005 when he won the first of three Connacht medals - he also tasted provincial glory in '08 and last year - having played a key role along with Meehan and the likes of Sean Armstrong in winning the All-Ireland U-21 title.

Hanley manned the full-back spot under a succession of Galway managers and went on to represent Ireland in five International Rules series against Australia, being named vice-captain in 2010.

He also captained Galway and tasted All-Ireland club glory when playing a key role guiding Salthill-Knocknacarra to victory in 2006.

He will be 33 in January and in recent seasons has had to battle injury, with Declan Kyne coming through to claim the full-back spot and U-21 Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh expected to challenge for a place in the defence in 2018 when Kevin Walsh's men return to Division 1 for the first time since 2011.

Irish Independent

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