Cavan GAA player’s 'retirement' letter is social media hit

Damian O'Reilly, 27, from Cavan's Ballinagh club

A humorous retirement letter posted on social media by a young Cavan club footballer has become something of a Facebook sensation, claiming nearly 30,000 views in less than a week.

Damian O’Reilly, 27, from the Ballinagh club, penned the letter after picking up a serious cruciate ligament injury, and as a mocking tribute to highly-paid soccer players who take to social media to make irrelevant announcements.

“I done the cruciate ligament in both knees, two years ago, when I was 25. I have tried a few comeback efforts but the knees gave in on me, so having seen a few professional footballers take to Facebook recently to announce their retirement, I felt obliged to inform the masses in Ballinagh that I was packing it in.

“The word travelled fast, as even my sister in Australia was shown the post by dozens of people. I’m going to give managing sides in the club a go now, my knees should stand up to that, whatever about my heart.’

Here are some of the highlights from his letter:

“It is with immense regret and profound sadness that I am penning this letter announcing my semi-retirement from the game of Gaelic football. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but the accumulative knee injuries sustained over the years and restricted opportunities to go out drinking on a Saturday night have proved too much to keep ignoring.

“I will leave with lots of fine memories both as a player and mostly as an unused substitute...

“Indeed it was at U16 where I had one of my finest moments on a football pitch when on a wet and windy Wednesday evening in Terry Coyle Park, having just got off a plane from Spain and suffering from severe jetlag, I struck a 63rd minute equalising goal from 35 yards out in a league semi-final against Laragh past the outstretched hand of Martin Smith in the Orange men’s goal.

“The goal in the end turned out to be futile as Laragh beat us in the replay but the team felt that the goal was the real trophy.

“Other fine moments were to follow like when I carried the minors, which probably resulted in my two bad knees, to victory in the league final against Belturbet. That victory would inspire many of that team.

“However, all good things must come to an end and although this isn’t a complete goodbye to the game it is an end of a chapter. I do intend to stay on in my roles in the club and I may play some junior football but only if I’m full forward and get to take the frees.

“I will miss football, I will miss the comradery in the dressing rooms, I will miss the thrill of winning but most of all I will miss the free gear.”


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