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Joe McMahon closes curtain on Tyrone GAA career


By Declan Bogue

Another link to the All-Ireland-winning Tyrone teams has been lost with the retirement from inter-county football of Joe McMahon.

The Omagh St Enda's man hinted that his spell in the white jersey was coming to a close last month in the Belfast Telegraph when he stated: "I will probably assess things in the next couple of weeks and see where I am at. I am going to have to build myself up."

After making 122 appearances in a 13-year county career played exclusively under Mickey Harte, McMahon suffered a groin injury that later brought some other problems. He added last month: "I feel every way else, fitness-wise and so on, that I am up to it. But this injury has been hampering me. There is probably a bit of thinking time to be had over the next few weeks in terms of the injury and whether I will be able to push on."

In a statement yesterday, he confirmed that he has reached the end of the road after suffering two particularly frustrating years of injury. Of the panel that won the All-Irelands in the last decade, only his brother Justin and the Cavanagh brothers Sean and Colm now remain.

"I have pushed myself to the limits working closely with the Tyrone medical team but I have to accept the reality that it is my body which is saying it's game over," said McMahon in a classy retirement statement.

"I was very fortunate to have played with and against some of the greatest players to have graced the game and under one of the GAA's greatest managers, Mickey Harte."

He paid tribute to his wife Geraldine and children Aoibhe, Anna and Joseph, along with his parents (his father Paddy was a former county player who won an Ulster title with Tyrone, while his mother is Cath White from Leeds), his club Omagh St Enda's and his schools as well as name-checking Mickey Moynagh of the Red Hands backroom team for his friendship.

He added: "I can reflect now on the elements that make Tyrone such a passionate county for its football - the County Board, Club Tyrone and the loyal supporters with their families. I thank all of them for the generosity of their time and resources and for the brilliant memories shared.

"I wish all my colleagues in the 2017 squad every success for the Championship ahead. I say to them, enjoy all your days with Tyrone. There is no greater honour than pulling on the jersey."

McMahon retires with two All-Ireland titles from 2005 and 2008, four Ulster titles (2007, 2009, 2010, 2016), a county title with Omagh in 2014 and numerous under-age honours with the Minors and Under-21s.

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