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Leeside legend Canty calls time on Rebels career

Cork football icon Graham Canty has announced his retirement from the inter- county game.

Canty, 32, who captained the Leesiders to their 2010 All-Ireland win over Down, will continue to play for his club, Bantry Blues, but he will not figure for Cork in next year’s league and championship.

Speaking last evening to the Irish Examiner, Canty said: "I’ve been involved since 2000, so I’ve had a good run at it.

"There are no regrets, certainly. I’m glad to be finishing up with Cork while the body is in good enough nick. I’ll be continuing with the club, 100%. When you’re playing inter-county, you don’t train with your club, realistically, so I’ll be glad to fall back in with the lads in Bantry again.

"It was a great honour to play for Cork, and to captain Cork, obviously, but it was also hugely enjoyable. I was very lucky to have such great support from family, from my club, from the various management teams, all of which allowed me to play for Cork.

"Did I think I’d still be playing football for Cork in 2013, when I started off back in 2000? I’d have been happy if you’d told me I’d still be playing football, full stop."

Having impressed at underage with Cork, and as a teenager with Bantry as they annexed the Cork senior football title in 1998, Canty came onto the Cork senior team in 2000 and would go on to feature in 61 championship games up to last August’s defeat to Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-final, after which long-serving manager Conor Counihan also stepped down.

In the course of a long career in red and white, Canty collected Munster SFC medals in 2002, 2006, 2008 and 2009. He also played in two All-Ireland finals lost by Cork to Kerry, in 2007 and 2009, before the Rebels had their own All-Ireland victory in September in 2010. He also won three All Star awards.

Cork enjoyed considerable success in the National Football League in Canty’s time, winning the Division One title three times as well as one Division Two title.

A natural leader, the Bord Gais engineer had captained Cork since 2008. He also played in several International Rules series against Australia, winning three, and featuring as Ireland vice- captain in one series.

He is the third high-profile retirement from the Cork football squad in recent weeks, following fellow defenders Paudie Kissane and Noel O’Leary off the inter-county stage.