GAA Football

McCrory joins Coney in hanging up the boots

Aidan McCrory has retired from Tyrone duty. Picture by Hugh Russell

TYRONE duo Aidan McCrory and Kyle Coney have pulled the pin on their inter-county careers.

Errigal Ciaran defender McCrory was pulled into the squad in 2011 and was a reliable, dedicated soldier in the full-back line for Mickey Harte over the last decade.

He started in both of the county's Ulster Championship final successes during his county career, playing at corner-back against Donegal in 2016 and Down in 2017.

McCrory was part of the panel for the following year's All-Ireland final defeat by Dublin and over his career earned a reputation as a solid, tough-tackling defender.

He was a regular starter in the backs from 2014 through to the end of 2017 and racked up a total of 120 appearances for the county, 36 of which were in Championship football.

Although game time was limited in recent seasons, McCrory remained an upbeat figure at training until he eventually slipped out the side door with no fuss or fanfare.

Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher will also be without Kyle Coney, who made his senior debut as far back as 2009 after leading the county to All-Ireland minor success the previous year.

The Ardboe man was considered the great white hope of Tyrone football at that stage but was signed by Sydney Swans and went off to Australia.

The adventure lasted a little over 12 weeks though as when he returned for Christmas in 2008, the club's minors were playing in Ulster and he never boarded the flight back to Sydney.

Coney joined the Tyrone panel the following year but as a naturally gifted old-style centre-forward, the county's transition towards a running game left him caught in the middle and he would start just two Ulster Championship games and four qualifiers among his total of 19 Championship appearances.

In total he played 65 times for the county, of which 20 were in the McKenna Cup, and in an interview with The Irish News last year, he admitted that his playing days with the county had largely been a time of frustration.

“You think next year might be the year, but it doesn't work out. There's another one or two players still there, you don't get as much game time as you want and you start to get frustrated,” he said.

“Frustrated with yourself, with management, with different players you think are getting a better chance than you. Then when it lasts a year or two longer again, you think it's time to concentrate a bit on yourself and club football.”

The GPA wished him well in a statement released on Thursday, saying that he would be “remembered fondly” for his man-of-the-match display in the 2008 All-Ireland minor final replay.

“His underage success did not go unnoticed and he was scouted and signed to Australian Rules outfit Sydney Swans, linking up with Irish Aussie Rules great, Tadhg Kennelly.

“Kyle returned to Ireland after a brief spell in professional sport and was part of two Ulster winning campaigns for Tyrone in 2009 & 2010. Kyle also captained the Tyrone under 21's in 2011, reaching an Ulster final.

“We would like to wish Kyle the very best in his future goals and challenges, outside of Inter-County GAA,” read the GPA's statement.

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