The inter-county retirements of Dublin’s 2011 All-Ireland SFC-winning captain Bryan Cullen and Galway’s three-time All Star hurler Damien Hayes were confirmed yesterday.
Cullen, 30, steps away after claiming 10 Leinster titles as well as a National League medal. In a statement on the Dublin GAA website, he announced: “I’ve been fortunate enough to represent Dublin at senior level since 2003 but I feel now is the time to step away. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Dublin managers Tommy Lyons, Pillar Caffrey, Pat Gilroy and Jim Gavin and especially to all the Dublin players past and present that I had the pleasure of sharing the pitch with. I’m very lucky to have had the support of my family and my wife throughout my time with Dublin. For now, I’m looking forward to focusing on my career and playing with my club Skerries Harps over the next few years.”
Alan Brogan was among those who paid tribute to Cullen on Twitter. He posted: “What a servant @bryancullen has been to Dublin football. Excelled in his role as captain and will be missed in the dressing room.”
Via the GPA, Hayes stated he had no regrets despite not claiming an All-Ireland SHC medal. In 14 seasons, the Portumna man won one Leinster title and three National Leagues as well as an impressive four All-Ireland crowns with his club. In 52 games for Galway, Hayes scored an impressive 25 goals.
Hayes, 33 next month, said: “I’ve loved my time with Galway and don’t regret a single minute of it. Yes, not winning an All-Ireland was unfortunate. But I see that as a disappointment, not the end of the world.
“I’m extremely proud to have won a Leinster and two National League medals, I made great friends in the Galway dressing room and I will always back the current players to win that first All-Ireland since 1988.
“I dedicated my career to my late brother Keith and he was always in my thoughts when I lined out for Galway. I want to thank all the supporters for their backing over the years and to my own family.
“It has been a wonderful time, I put my heart and soul into it and gave it everything so I have no regrets whatsoever. It has been an honour to play for Galway and I’ve felt honoured every time I went out with the maroon jersey on me. Of course it wasn’t an easy decision to make but I think it is the best thing to do at this stage. I’ll continue to play for Portumna.”
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