Chris Cargo has become the second Irish men’s player to retire in the wake of their controversial Olympic qualifier loss to Canada in October.
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.
He finishes up with 195 caps, eighth on the all-time list, and 28 goals as he traversed between the midfield and forward lines.
His first call-up came at the 2009 Celtic Cup, coming to the attention of then Irish coach Paul Revington in fortuitous fashion.
Cargo was playing in the English regional leagues with Bath Buccaneers and was nowhere near the international radar until a last-minute injury saw him jet out to Cork to play for Ulster in the senior interpros that year one day before the event.
He put in a player of the tournament performance and duly parachuted straight into the Irish squad where he was a virtual ever-present for a decade.
He pays particular tribute to Revington for igniting what was becoming a dormant dream.
“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.”
He also credited Craig Fulton with “galvanising the team after the disappointment of 2012; [he] pushed us on again through our ‘no excuses’ mantra” which led to their greatest moments.
“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.
“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 on the journey, but they make the successes so much sweeter.
“I look forward to wearing my green shirt as a supporter of Irish Hockey in future years. Irish hockey is in rude health with the ladies representing us in Tokyo next summer and I believe that the correct support for both teams will mean that we will see both in Paris and for many more Olympics to come.”