In what has developed into a worrying trend for Eamon O’Shea’s successor and former selector, 2010 hurler of the year Corbett confirmed August’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Galway was his last game in county colours. It’s the second time the 34-year-old has quit: in February 2012 he left the panel before returning three months later.
It means the Thurles Sarsfields man, along with Conor O’Mahony and first choice midfield pair James Woodlock and Shane McGrath, won’t be part of Ryan’s plans next season.
The quick succession of announcements is unprecedented although comparisons are being made to recent mass retirements. Last year, Kilkenny lost David Herity, Tommy Walsh, Brian Hogan and Aidan Fogarty within a number of weeks before Henry Shefflin confirmed his decision to follow suit.
In the space of three weeks in October and November 2013, Cork footballers lost Noel O’Leary, Paudie Kissane, Graham Canty, Pearse O’Neill and Alan Quirke. There is speculation another one or two of Tipperary’s more senior players may decide to follow the example of the aforementioned quartet. As things stand, goalkeeper Darren Gleeson, 34, Conor O’Brien, 30, and Paddy Stapleton, 30, are the elder statesmen of the team. The most experienced player in the panel at present is 27-year-old Seamus Callanan with 33 championship appearances.
Unlike O’Mahony, Woodlock and McGrath, who confirmed their departures via the Tipperary Co Board, Corbett made his announcement via his Twitter account. “Over the past 15 years, I have enjoyed many great times playing senior hurling with Tipperary but I have decided that now is the time to announce my retirement,” wrote the three-time All-Star.
“It was a huge honour for me to play with Tipperary and I have had many great memories and friendships from my time on the panel. Our All-Ireland winning years of 2001 and 2010 will always be special highlights.
“I want to thank all those players with whom I played, I have huge respect for them all. I want to thank the management and backroom teams who gave me great assistance and support. I also want to acknowledge the Tipperary Co Board, Tipperary Supporters Club and my club, Thurles Sarsfields, for their support.
“Playing inter-county hurling requires lots of time and commitment and I am particularly grateful to my wife, Elaine, my family, my colleagues in our business and my friends for giving me the time, opportunity and support to pursue my sporting ambitions. Finally, I want to wish Tipperary well for the future.”
Corbett will be fondly remembered for his three goals in the 2010 All-Ireland final win over Kilkenny although his tracking of Tommy Walsh in the 2012 All-Ireland semi-final defeat to the Cats left many fans perplexed. Brendan Cummins recently revealed he was furious with Corbett for the “tactic” as he wasn’t told about it.
Because of a knee injury, Corbett didn’t return to the panel until April this year and featured as a sub in the Munster final win over Waterford and subsequent loss to Galway in which he forced Colm Callanan to pull off a spectacular reflex save.
Last month, he won his sixth senior county medal with Thurles Sarsfields, playing a vital playmaking role in the victory over Nenagh Éire Óg. However, he failed to add to his 2012 Munster Club title last Sunday when Na Piarsaigh beat Thurles by four points.