Tipperary will be without Kieran Bergin for their Munster and All-Ireland SHC defence.
The versatile 31-year-old Killenaule player contacted manager Michael Ryan on Tuesday to inform him he was departing, with confirmation he was stepping aside emerging yesterday.
Work commitments have been cited as a factor in Bergin’s decision, but it’s also believed the 2016 All-Ireland winner had grown frustrated with a recent lack of playing time.
Capable of operating in the half-back line or at midfield, Bergin made a number of League appearances this year but was overlooked for the business end of the campaign. He was a late developer as an inter-county hurler, only making his debut under Eamon O’Shea in 2013.
Bergin went on to win two Munster SHC medals, in 2015 and 2016, as well as a Celtic Cross last year.
Bergin won a Munster medal as a minor hurler with Tipperary in 2003, lining out in a team that contained the likes of Paddy Stapleton, James Woodlock and current Republic of Ireland international soccer star Shane Long.
Bergin went on to represent the U21s in 2005, before moving to the United States for a number of years.
He returned home in late 2011 and while Bergin was called into the Tipperary football panel by then manager Peter Creedon in early 2013, a string of impressive displays for Dublin IT in the Fitzgibbon Cup brought him to the attention of O’Shea.
A nephew of former Tipperary captains Liam and Jack Bergin, Kieran joined the Tipperary senior hurling squad in April 2013 and he was quickly handed a debut in the Allianz Hurling League final against Kilkenny.
He made his championship debut against Limerick in the same year and went on to make 12 summer appearances in the blue and gold, scoring 0-5 in total.
Bergin was nominated for an All-Star award as a half-back in 2014, and he’s also a first cousin of former Galway footballer, Joe.
Bergin claimed his first Munster medal in 2015, starting in the victory over Waterford, before adding another provincial title last year, appearing as a sub in the comprehensive victory over the Déise in Limerick.
A scientific development manager with Agilent Technologies, Bergin had hoped to nail down a permanent place in the team in 2017.
He’s impressed in the number five shirt in the past but that position is now held down by Seamus Kennedy, the former football panellist who made a successful switch to the hurlers.
Bergin’s last appearance for Tipperary came against Cork when he lined out in a Páirc Uí Rinn reverse.
He had started in the earlier victories over Dublin and Waterford in February, while also appearing as a sub in the classic draw against Kilkenny, but played no part in the knock-out phase of the Allianz League.
He was carrying an injury during the spring but Bergin did not feature in the Offaly, Wexford and Galway ties, and that’s believed to have factored heavily in his decision to call time on his inter-county career.
There has been no official retirement announcement from the player but, as things stand, he’s unlikely to feature again for Tipperary in the foreseeable future.
Bergin’s last championship outing was against Kilkenny at Croke Park last September, when he came off the bench in the second-half to claim a coveted All-Ireland medal.
Bergin’s departure deprives Ryan of valuable squad cover as the threat of a two-match ban hangs over Jason Forde, who occupied one of the midfield berths for the last three games of the League.
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