McDonnell calls time on Armagh career

Stevie McDonnell last night announced his retirement from inter-county football.

The 2003 footballer of the year declared he was hanging up his boots on his Twitter account.

“After 13 years of playing county football with Armagh I have decided that the time is right for me to retire at this level and move on,” McDonnell, 32, tweeted. “I want to thank all the managers and players that I played alongside and made some greatfriendships along the way.’’

As well as Armagh’s historic first All-Ireland title in 2002, Killeavy man McDonnell won three All Stars in his career, seven Ulster titles and a National League medal.

Meanwhile, Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea is in a race to be fit for their opening round of the Connacht SFC after he was last night ruled out for six weeks with hamstring trouble.

O’Shea will definitely miss Sunday’s Allianz FL semi-final with Kerry at Croke Park and should they reach the decider, he’ll miss that too but he should be back fit in for the Connacht opener against the winners of London or Leitrim on June 24.

Conor Counihan has made three changes to his starting side for Sunday’s Allianz FL Division 1 semi-final against Down at Croke Park. Alan Quirke returns to the number one slot in place of Ken O’Halloran, while Seán Kiely and Eoin Cadogan make way for Noel O’Leary and Paudie Kissane, respectively, at both wing back slots.

Ephie Fitzgerald, coach to the Limerick senior footballers last year, will make his managerial bow with the Corkminor footballers in Saturday’s Munster MFC first round againstLimerick in the Gaelic Grounds and has named seven players who featured during last year’s campaign in hisstarting line-up. Corner-back Stephen Cronin, wing-backs Kevin Crowley and Jamie Davis, midfielder Paul Fitzgerald, centre-forward Cathal Vaughan, wing-forward Brian O’Driscoll and corner-forward Killian McIntyre all saw championship action for the Cork minors in 2011.

Cork will be captained by O’Driscoll who came on as a substitute for the county U21 side in their Munster final triumph overKerry on Wednesday night. The team also features Michael Martin, son of Fianna Fáil leader Michéal, in goal while full-back Thomas O’Rourke is a brother of Cork U21 attacker John.

Tipperary boss David Power is able to call on 10 players who featured in last September’s All-Ireland final triumph over Dublin for their Munster MFC first round tie against Kerry in Austin Stack Park in Tralee on Saturday night. Goalkeeper Evan Comerford, centre-back Dylan Fitzelle, wing-back Bill Maher, midfield duo Stephen O’Brien and John McGrath, centre-forward IanFahey and wing-forward Greg Henry all started in that success in Croke Park. In addition wing-forward Jason Lonergan, corner-forward Colman Kennedy and full-forward Philip Quirke were all brought on as substitutes in that clash against the capital outfit.

CORK (SF v Down): A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, E Cotter; N O’Leary, G Canty, P Kissane; A O’Connor, P O’Neill; F Goold, P Kelly, P Kerrigan; C O’Neill, A Walsh, D O’Connor.

KERRY (SF v Mayo): B Kealy; S Enright, M Ó Sé, K Young; P Crowley, A O’Mahony, B Maguire; A Maher, B Sheehan; P Galvin, D O’Sullivan, K Donaghy; C Cooper, D O’Sullivan, P Curtin.

CORK (MF v Limerick): M Martin (Nemo Rangers); S O’Leary (Iveleary), T O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers), S Cronin (Nemo Rangers); K Crowley (Millstreet), C Hyde (Naomh Aban), J Davis (Douglas); P Fitzgerald (Douglas), A O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers); S T O’Sullivan (Garnish), C Vaughan (Iveleary), B O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh); K McIntyre (Carrigaline), K O’Connor (Mallow), C Horgan (Nemo Rangers). Subs: P Shanahan (Carbery Rangers), AMoynihan (Canovee), A Murphy (St Michael’s), E Dennehy (St Finbarr’s), I Maguire (St Finbarr’s), D Kelly (Macroom), P Kelleher (Kilmichael), D O’Connor (Éire Óg), C O’Driscoll (Goleen).

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