Gaelic football's last playing link to the 1990s gone as Dick Clerkin retires
Monaghan star Dick Clerkin has announced his retirement, ending an inter-county career that began all the way back in 1999.
Clerkin announced his decision in his column in today's Irish Examiner, meaning that there are no more players who played in the 90s still involved in inter-county football.
Clerkin (34) made his debut for the Farney County in 1999 at a time when the league began before Christmas and represented his county 179 times, winning the Ulster title in 2013 and 2015.
"Of the 180 or so times I have played for Monaghan since, you could have counted the games he missed on one hand. There were familiar words of advice before every one," wrote Clerkin.
Dick Clerkin's retirement means the last playing link to the 1990s is gone. Sligo's Mark Breheny the longest serving player now?— Donnchadh Boyle (@depboyle) November 1, 2016
"Yet over a relatively short phone call last Friday evening, we both agreed now was the right time to leave it behind.
"Discussing it with my wife Alison at length over the past few months, we both agreed that, for various reasons, it was time to move on. Crucially it feels right, but if I’m honest I knew long before now."
Clerkin added that he is proud of the transformation in Monaghan football and the role that he played.
"I have witnessed a remarkable transformation in the psyche of Monaghan football during my career. Motivated by pride, sustained by hard work, validated with success. I am not going to patronise with thanks the countless people who have contributed to making Monaghan football what it is today.
"Striking an almost perfect balance between club and county, Monaghan football and all those responsible, should be held up as a shining example of what can be achieved with relatively limited resources. Supporters, administrators, sponsors, and mentors, all with a like-minded sense of duty and passion, for something bigger than ourselves.
"I am proud to have been part of that transformation."