'I’m going out in a good place' - Clare Shine bows out of football with a win and a Glasgow ovation

The 27-year-old from Cork retired in the aftermath of Glasgow City’s 2-0 victory over Hearts
'I’m going out in a good place' - Clare Shine bows out of football with a win and a Glasgow ovation

Clare Shine with a young fan following Sunday's win for Glasgow City, Shine's final game as a professional footballer. Pic: Glasgow City FC

On a grey Sunday afternoon in the northside of Glasgow, Republic of Ireland international Clare Shine hung up her boots and ended a distinguished playing career.

The 27-year-old from Douglas in Cork bowed out in the aftermath of Glasgow City’s 2-0 victory over Hearts at Petershill Park, having announced her decision to step away from the game on Saturday.

The fitting finish was played out in front of red brick flats in the suburbs of Scotland’s second city, in the arena where she won four league titles.

Shine played until she was substituted in the 75th minute, and she walked off to a standing ovation from the hundreds of fans present.

At the full-time whistle, the crowd stood up and applauded her one more time. A young girl in a Glasgow City tracksuit went to the fence with a cardboard sign saying ‘Thank you, Clare.’ Shine took that and gave her new friend something in return, and she went away smiling from ear to ear.

Shine's brother Philip stood at the back of the stand, taking in this moment with his little sister, smiling.

“It was emotional, I’m not going to lie. I don’t think I have a tear left inside of me,” Clare said afterwards.

“It’s been difficult. It has not been an easy decision. It’s something I have been thinking of for quite some time, I’m in a position where I know what I want to do after football. I know where I want to go and what I want to achieve.

“It was really emotional, and I saw my brother was really emotional. It’s a massive day. My family have watched me play football my whole life. For the last 22 years I have dedicated my whole life to football."

The striker departs with a Glasgow legacy cemented by two victories in the Scottish Women's Cup. In 2015, she netted a hat-trick against Hibernian in the final and four years later she scored a 90th-minute winner to win the cup once again.

She is content in what she has achieved, from playing seven times for her country to lining out in the Champions League, especially given what she has had to overcome.

“I achieved a lot over the last number of years and it’s only now that I look back on it that I go ‘wow’ I am really proud of what I have achieved.

“I’m going out in a good place. I’m happy and really mentally strong at the moment. There were times in the past when I had to dig deep to get myself to where I am. I’m just appreciating and grateful for everything that football has given me and sport in general.” 

Ireland manager Vera Pauw's tweet summed up the reaction to Shine's retirement within the game. "Good luck in your future career Clare! Full respect for your brave decision. We love you!"

Shine's focus is now firmly on her role with Glasgow City Foundation.

“I’m the Project Co-ordinator for the club,” she explained, “I go in and out of schools promoting women’s football and Glasgow City.

“It’s really good and it is something that I enjoy. The kids have been great and I’m looking forward to doing that in a full-time role and going into as many schools as I possibly can.” 

Shine may return to playing one day, but before that happens, she wants to experience life outside of the game.

“I just need to put myself first and give myself time to recharge. There’s a lot of things that I want to do. I want to travel. I want to do different courses and upskill my mind a little bit more.

“Who knows, I might play for a Sunday League team in a couple of years. Professional sport is something that the demands and the expectations, and the way that the sport is going, is something that I struggle with. I don’t want to put my body or mind under that much pressure anymore.

“It’s time to dedicate my time and my efforts to something else.”

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