Friday 24 January 2020

Cargo comes to a halt after 'life-changing' Ireland career

 

Chris Cargo. Photo: Sportsfile
Chris Cargo. Photo: Sportsfile

Stephen Findlater

Chris Cargo has become the second Ireland men's player to retire in the wake of their controversial Olympic qualifier loss to Canada.

The Bangor man follows Eugene Magee in stepping back having been part of the golden generation, winning European bronze in 2015 and qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2018 World Cup.

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He finishes up with 195 caps, eighth on the all-time list, and 28 goals as he traversed between the midfield and forward lines. The last of those came in October when a hotly-contested, last-gasp video review cut short Irish qualifying celebrations for Tokyo, handing Canada a penalty stroke which laid the base for their victory.

Cargo's first call-up came at the 2009 Celtic Cup, coming to the attention of then Ireland coach Paul Revington in fortuitous fashion.

Cargo was playing in the English regional leagues and was nowhere near the international radar until a late injury saw him jet out to Cork to play for Ulster in the senior inter-pros that year one day before the event.

He put in a player of the tournament performance and was duly parachuted straight into the Ireland squad where he was a virtual ever-present for a decade.

"I would particularly like to thank Paul Revington for giving me my first opportunity to wear a green shirt.

"I had given up on that dream so I will always be truly grateful to him for giving me that chance and changing my life," said Cargo.

He also credited Craig Fulton with "galvanising the team after the disappointment of 2012; (he) pushed us on again through our 'no excuses' mantra.

"I have been very lucky to have been playing in an Irish shirt during a period when, in my opinion, some of the best players in Irish history were playing alongside me," he added.

"It was an amazing journey and I was lucky enough to forge some enduring friendships, whilst making history with this team and having a great laugh along the way. There have been many low points, but they make the successes so much sweeter."

Irish Independent

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