GAA Football

Dublin legend Paul Flynn retires - and the timing is right

Paul Flynn has retired from Dublin duty after 12 years. Picture by Seamus Loughran

WITH six All-Irelands and as the only Dublin outfield player ever to win four consecutive Allstars, Paul Flynn yesterday stepped away from inter-county football.

Citing his struggle to reach “the fitness required for inter-county and to reach the standards that I set for myself” following back surgery last year, the Fingallians man – who is currently the GPA’s CEO – left the stage after 12 years in blue.

The timing can only have come as a surprise. His four consecutive Allstars came when he was at his peak from 2011 to 2014, during which time he was regarded as the best half-forward in Ireland bar none.

He also spent a significant portion of his playing time at midfield, most notably when Michael Darragh Macauley’s form dipped and Brian Fenton hadn’t yet appeared on the scene.

Flynn departs with 10 Leinster medals, four National League titles and two Sigerson Cups to add to the All-Irelands and Allstars, making him one of the most decorated footballers in history.

But he started just one championship match since the 2016 All-Ireland final replay, and that was last summer’s Super 8s dead rubber with Roscommon. He tallied up just 260 minutes of summer football since in the past two summers.

And he again found his game time limited during this year’s National League, playing only 142 minutes in total, of which two-thirds came in the book-ending games against Monaghan and Cavan.

“After 12 proud years wearing the Dublin jersey I have made the difficult decision to step away from the Dublin football panel,” he said in a statement.

“It’s an enormous privilege to play for your county and I feel incredibly lucky and proud that I got to play for Dublin for as long as I have.

“Dublin football has played a huge part in my life and I will be forever grateful for all that it has given me. I was honoured to train and play alongside exceptional team-mates week in week out, to have enjoyed the support of extraordinary managers over the years and to have had the support of dedicated, world class backroom teams.

“I’m grateful for all that they’ve taught me over the years and for the lifelong friendships that I made along the way. My football career started and ended with the support of my club, my family and my friends and to them I am eternally grateful.

“Since my back surgery last year I’ve struggled to reach the fitness required for inter county and to reach the standards that I set for myself. While my heart says play on unfortunately my body says it’s time to call it a day.

“I’ve loved every minute of my journey with Dublin football and to have played in front of its dedicated and passionate supporters has allowed me to make memories that I will cherish forever. I move on now with gratitude to the next chapter of my life.”

Jim Gavin, who managed him to five of the six All-Ireland titles after Pat Gilroy had broken the seal in 2011, paid tribute to “an outstanding leader”.

“Paul has had a long and distinguished inter county career representing the county of Dublin. His collection of medals and awards is a testament to the impact he has had on our Gaelic games. An outstanding leader, Paul inspired those around him by his determination, self-sacrifice and commitment to his sport – all focused on the team being the best that it could be.

“Paul is an outstanding individual and gentleman and he is an immense credit to his family, friends and club Fingallians CLG and I wish him well in all his future endeavours.

“Guím gach rath agus beannacht ort agus an turas nua atá romhat amach anseo.”

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