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McDonnell calls time on Armagh career

Long-serving Armagh attacker Stevie McDonnell has announced his retirement from inter-county football.

McDonnell took to his Twitter account last night to confirm his departure from the game after 13 years.

He is one of the modern attacking greats of the game and was one of the architects of Armagh's ground-breaking All-Ireland success in 2002.

"After 13 years of playing county football with Armagh I have decided the time is right for me to retire at this level and move on," said McDonnell.

"I want to thank all the managers and players that I played alongside -- I made some great friendships along the way. I also want to thank all the supporters from Armagh and all over Ireland that respected what Armagh did in this time."

McDonnell recently celebrated the birth of a fourth child. He made his championship debut in 2000 and scored a goal in the Ulster final against Donegal that year.

His '02 Armagh manager Joe Kernan described him as one of the best fielders in the modern game.

"I'm sorry to see him go. He owed nothing and Armagh wouldn't have had the success without him. He knows best. He has a wife and four kids and it was a pleasure dealing with him," Kernan said. "For a fella so slight he had two of the best hands in the game and was a great finisher."

prolific

McDonnell was GPA Footballer of the Year in 2003 when Armagh lost the All-Ireland final to Tyrone. He won six Ulster medals in 2000, '02, '04, '05, '06 and '08 and was a prolific International Rules player.

Meanwhile, the Galway hurlers, who shipped 3-26 against Kilkenny last day out, have made five changes to their side to face Dublin in Sunday's Division 1A relegation battle in Tullamore.

Feargal Flannery replaces Jamie Ryan in goal and Kevin Hynes comes into defence in place of Johnny Coen.

David Burke replaces Brian Flaherty and partners Andy Smyth in midfield, and up front Conor Cooney and Davy Glennon come in for Joe Cooney and Iarlaith Tannian.

It is a rematch of the sides' first-round meeting which Galway won well and they have just four changes from that starting line-up, one of them enforced due to goalkeeper James Skehill's subsequent injury.

Cork's footballers have three changes for their Division 1 semi-final with Down, bringing in major experience in the shape of goalkeeper Alan Quirke and veteran defenders Noel O'Leary and Paudie Kissane, who replace Sean Kiely and Eoin Cadogan.

The Mourne men will definitely be without full-back Dan Gordon, who broke a bone in his foot last weekend.

As expected, Kerry, who drew with Mayo last week, have wheeled out the big guns to face them in the other semi, with Kieran Donaghy at wing-forward, Darren O'Sullivan at full-forward and Colm Cooper starting his second game after last week's comeback.

Apart from Seamus O'Shea, Mayo are expected to be at full strength, with Peadar Gardiner and Colm Boyle both recovered from illness.

TEAMS IN FACTFILE

Irish Independent