Donegal’s 2012 All-Ireland winner Leo McLoone’s retirement from inter-county football has been confirmed.
Donegal manager Declan Bonner said the Naomh Conaill of Glenties clubman stepped aside before the 2020 season got underway.
Thirty-year-old McLoone, who played in a variety of positions, also won five Ulster SFC titles.
He made his debut under Brian McIver as an 18-year-old in 2008 against Mayo in Castlebar before a first championship outing when Carlow came to Ballybofey a year later when John Joe Doherty was in charge of Donegal.
“Leo has retired,” Bonner said. “Leo has been a brilliant servant to Donegal football and the time we’ve been involved, he won two more Ulster titles and was a very important part of the panel.”
McLoone was part of the Naomh Conaill team who came through a three-game thriller against then Ulster champions Gaoth Dobhair in the final of the Donegal SFC in October before reaching the Ulster Club SFC final where they lost to Kilcoo in Omagh.
“I met him a number of times in early autumn and he was going to see out the club championship with Naomh Conaill. He had a lot of experience and was a born leader but felt the time was right. He’s been there a long time and worked hard the last few years. We wish him well.”
The secondry school teacher was also part of Donegal’s 2010 U21 Ulster championship-winning side under Jim McGuinness and also a goalscorer in the All-Ireland final, when they lost 1-10 to 1-8 to a Dublin side managed by Jim Gavin.
Bonner welcomed Patrick McBrearty back to training last night after the corner-forward spent the best part of the last three months in the United States on holiday.
McBrearty missed Donegal’s opening fixture of their Allianz Football League Division 1 campaign on Saturday as an injury-time James Durcan goal grabbed a 2-13 to 0-19 draw for Mayo in Ballybofey.
Donegal are down to play Meath this coming Sunday in Navan in the second series of fixtures.
“I met Patrick on Monday,” Bonner said. “We’ll see how he gets on at training this week and he might play a part on Sunday."