Tyrone’s Joe McMahon today brought the curtain down on his inter-county career, admitting defeat in his battle to overcome injury.
The 33-year-old Omagh man won two All-Ireland titles during an outstanding career with the Red Hands.
One of the game’s most versatile players, he featured in attack, defence and midfield over various stages of a career that began in 2004, and famously teamed up with younger brother Justin to snuff out the ‘Twin Towers’ threat of Kerry’s Kieran Donaghy and Tommy Walsh in the 2008 All-Ireland final, holding the pair to a single point.
But in recent seasons, injury has dogged the genial schoolteacher, and he had not played for Tyrone since the 2015 All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kerry, when he suffered a groin injury, and he has since been troubled by hamstring problems.
Fresh hope that McMahon may be on the way back came in the form of his return to play for his club at the weekend.
He came on as a sub for his first appearance of the season, and looked sharp in Omagh’s big win over Urney at Healy Park.
But just hours later came the news that he had made the heart-breaking decision to give up on making a comeback for Tyrone after almost two seasons out of inter-county action
“I have pushed myself to the limits working closely with the Tyrone medical team but I have to accept the reality that it is my body which is saying it’s game over,” he said in a statement.
“Hopefully though, I will still be able to play with my club, Omagh St Enda’s.
“I wish all my colleagues in the 2017 squad every success for the championship ahead. I say to them, enjoy all your days with Tyrone. There is no greater honour than pulling on the jersey.”