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Declan Calls it a day with Galway

posted 6 Jan 2011, 07:24 by Jarlath Kelly   [ updated 6 Jan 2011, 07:30 ]

New Galway boss Tomas O Flatharta has suffered an early setback to his plans with the news that Declan Meehan has decided to retire from inter-county football.

Meehan's decision to retire removes one of the final links with the 1998 and 2001 All-Irelans winning teams.
The versatile Caltra clubman made the decision after recently undergoing a shoulder operation and he informed the Galway manager of his decision earlier this week.

O Flatharta paid tribute to Meehan and said that the experienced wing-back would be a huge loss.
"Declan was a great servant to Galway football. It was a tough decision for him, but he recently had an operation on his shoulder and is facing into three or four months of rehab with it," said the Kerryman.
"He came to me the other night with his decision and I asked him to take some time and give it consideration, but he had his mind made up. I informed the players afterwards and it was tough for some of them to take. 

"There were plenty of good things said about Declan and a great round of applause for him. He was a very committed player and will be a big loss."

Meehan won just about every honour in the game, picking up All Star awards in 2000 and 2001, along with his brace of All-Ireland SFC medals. He emerged on the scene as part of a brilliant St Jarlath's side which won the 11th of the 12 Hogan Cups claimed by the Tuam college.

That 1994 side included his brother Tomas, Michael Donnellan, Padraic Joyce, John Divilly, Tommie Joyce and Michael Cloherty, all of whom went on to win All-Ireland senior medals when Galway's 32-year All-Ireland drought ended in 1998.

Declan will return to the Caltra club, where he was joined by his brothers Noel, Michael, Enda, Seamus and Tomas when helping guide Caltra to their first ever Galway SFC title in 2003 and then going all the way to win the All-Ireland club title the following March against An Ghaeltacht from Kerry, who included the O Se brothers. 

He will be remembered as one of the most stylish defenders in the game which earned widespread respect from his peers as well as individual honours in the form of GAA All Stars in 2000 and ’01, including the Player of the Year in the latter year.

His inter-county career spanned 15 years having made his debut under Bosco McDermott in the 1996 Connacht Championship.

He told the Irish Examiner: “I really enjoyed my time playing with Galway and it was something I always loved doing.

“We had some fantastic years, with 1998 and 2001 the two obvious highlights, and winning the All-Ireland with my club, Caltra, is another wonderful memory to have.

"I was fortunate to play on some successful teams and with some terrific players like Paul Clancy, Padraic Joyce, Ja Fallon, Kevin Walsh, Seán Óg De Paor and Kieran Fitzgerald to name just a few, and while we have not had as much success in the past few years it has still been hugely enjoyable. I will miss it. I have no doubt about that."

The Meehan link with Galway will continue in 2011, however, with Michael one of three skippers named this week.