| 18.5°C Dublin

Meehan farewell a blow to Galway

New Galway boss Tomas O Flatharta has suffered an early setback to his plans with the news that Declan Meehan has decided to retire from inter-county football.

Meehan's decision to retire removes one of the final links with the 1998 and 2001 All-Ireland winning teams.

The versatile Caltra clubman made the decision after recently undergoing a shoulder operation and he informed the Galway manager of his decision earlier this week.

O Flatharta paid tribute to Meehan and said that the experienced wing-back would be a huge loss.

"Declan was a great servant to Galway football. It was a tough decision for him, but he recently had an operation on his shoulder and is facing into three or four months of rehab with it," said the Kerryman.

"He came to me the other night with his decision and I asked him to take some time and give it consideration, but he had his mind made up. I informed the players afterwards and it was tough for some of them to take.

"There were plenty of good things said about Declan and a great round of applause for him. He was a very committed player and will be a big loss."

Meehan won just about every honour in the game, picking up All Star awards in 2000 and 2001, along with his brace of All-Ireland SFC medals. He emerged on the scene as part of a brilliant St Jarlath's side which won the 11th of the 12 Hogan Cups claimed by the Tuam college.


That 1994 side included his brother Tomas, Michael Donnellan, Padraic Joyce, John Divilly, Tommie Joyce and Michael Cloherty, all of whom went on to win All-Ireland senior medals when Galway's 32-year All-Ireland drought ended in 1998.

Meehan was joined by his brothers Noel, Michael, Enda, Seamus and Tomas when guiding Caltra to their first ever Galway SFC title in 2003 and then going all the way to win the All-Ireland club title the following March against An Ghaeltacht from Kerry, who included the O Se brothers.

The Meehan link with Galway will continue in 2011, however, with Michael one of three skippers named this week.

Meanwhile, former Tipperary senior player Raymie Ryan is the county's new minor hurling manager. He will be assisted by Jim Dunne (Moyle Rovers), Ray Ralph (Moycarkey-Borris), Liam Flannery (Nenagh Éire Óg) and trainer Willie McCormack (St Patrick's).

The Tyrone CCC are to meet next Wednesday to discuss incidents that took place in the county U-21 semi final between Omagh and Derrylaughan prior to the Christmas break.

Holders Omagh won the game, but it was marred by ugly scenes involving a number of players in the closing stages as both sides finished with 14 men.

The final was scheduled to take place this Saturday between Omagh and Eglish, but that has been postponed pending the results of the inquiry.

Fermanagh's former star forward Rory Gallagher has joined the Donegal senior management team and will be Jim McGuinness's No 2.

Irish Independent