Cork camogie star Anna Geary last night admitted a career change forced her retirement from the game at inter-county level.
Geary, who captained Cork to an All-Ireland title last September, made the shock announcement on RTÉ News admitting it was a “tough decision” but the “right one”.
In an illustrious 12-year county career, the Milford native also won All-Irelands in 2005, 2006 and 2009, along with four All Stars in 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2011.
“It is never a good time to leave something you love, especially as it has been a focal part of my life for over a decade,” the defender said last night.
“But I am changing careers so I need to focus on that at the moment. It is a timing issue more than anything.
“I place high expectations on myself each season and right now I cannot give the same commitment that is needed to compete at the highest level.
“It was such a tough decision but I think it’s the right one.”
The 27-year-old was one of the most recognised camogie players in the country, and her profile was raised further when she represented Cork in the Rose of Tralee Festival in Kerry last August — just weeks before she collected the O’Duffy Cup at Croke Park following a 2-12 to 1-9 win over Kilkenny.
Former Cork camogie star and Irish Examiner columnist Therese O’Callaghan last night hailed Geary as “a great leader both on and off the field”.
“Every time she pulled the jersey on, be it for St Mary’s Secondary School in Charleville, her club Milford or the county, she was an inspiration to the players around her.
“I read once where she described herself as ‘determined, passionate ad encouraging’. I think these words sum up Anna perfectly. She is all three.
“But this is a big blow for Cork camogie, following on from the retirements of other experienced players Joanne O’Callaghan and Jennifer O’Leary. Angela Walsh is also unavailable to manager Paudie Murray as the All-Ireland senior championship gets underway next month, which means he is without four of the 2014 All-Ireland winning team.”
Geary however isn’t hanging up her boots and has vowed to continue playing for her club, Milford.
“Camogie has given me so much; I just hope I gave something back to the game — both on and off the field -— while playing with Cork. I am privileged to have worn the Cork jersey for as long as I have but also honoured to have lined out alongside past, present and future heroes of the game.
“I am lucky to have shared my inter-county journey with true friends. I’m grateful for the support from my family, management and Cork fans throughout my career. I have played with Cork during an exciting time for camogie. The profile of the game is increasing and there have been many positive developments. I will continue to play my club, Milford, as I am not prepared to walk away from camogie entirely.”
Geary is relishing the prospect of “new career opportunities to explore” and will also return to her studies to attain a Business and Life Coaching Diploma.
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