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So long, lads: 15 inter-county hurling stars who called it a day in 2017

Plenty All-Ireland winners and established figures bowed out this year.

pjimage (1) Joyce, O'Mahony, O'Callaghan and Bugler amongst those who bowed out. Source: INPHO

2017 SAW SOME familiar hurling figures exit the inter-county stage.

Time to pay tribute to those that moved into retirement over the past year.

1. Brendan Bugler (Clare – Whitegate)

One of Clare’s longest-serving players called it a day in October. Bugler endured a few lean years at the start of his career before the crowning moment arrived with the All-Ireland triumph in 2013.

Brendan Bugler celebrates at the final whistle Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

A pillar in defence for Clare, Bugler started out with the Banner back in 2007. He picked up All-Star awards in 2012 and 2013 for his exploits.

2. Colin Ryan (Clare – Newmarket-on-Fergus)

Ryan retired a couple of days after Bugler in early October but his departure had been flagged in a way when he confirmed last January that he would be taking an extended break from inter-county hurling. The attacker started out back in 2007 with the Banner, making a name for himself as a superb free-taker.

Colin Ryan celebrates Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

That prowess from placed balls surfaced notably on All-Ireland final day for victorious Clare teams. In 2009 he chipped in with 0-9 in the U21 win over Kilkenny and in 2013 he notched 0-7 in the senior success against Cork.

3. Cyril Donnellan (Galway – Padraig Pearses)

After a decade of service to the Tribesmen, Donnellan retired in late November. He departed on a successful note. Despite not playing in September’s All-Ireland win, it was a success to be savoured after years of effort.

Cyril Donnellan celebrates with the Liam MacCarthy cup Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Injuries hampered him in recent seasons but the attacker – who started out in 2008 when Ger Loughnane was in charge – finished with two Leinster senior accolades and two National League medals to accompany the cherished Celtic Cross.

4. David O’Callaghan (Dublin – St Mark’s)

The long-serving forward enjoyed a fruitful career for Dublin in both codes. He started out being part of Leinster winning football squads before switching his attentions to focus solely on hurling from 2008.

David O’Callaghan turns after scoring his sides goal Source: James Crombie/INPHO

During the Anthony Daly era, O’Callaghan collected a National League medal in 2011 and a Leinster senior accolade in 2013.

5. Darach Honan (Clare – Clonlara)

At the age of 27, Honan was forced to pull the plug on his days with Clare after being ruined by injury in recent years. A persistent hip problem proved the catalyst for Honan opting to depart.

Darach Honan celebrates Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The rangy attacker burst onto the scene as part of the Clare U21 side that swept to Munster and All-Ireland glory in 2009. Four years later he found the net on the biggest stage of all, his goal clinching Clare’s replay final win over Cork.

6. Darren Gleeson (Tipperary – Portroe)

A two-time All-Ireland senior winner, Gleeson bowed out in October. He was the understudy to Brendan Cummins for the 2010 success before starting between the posts  for the 2016 success.

Darren Gleeson celebrates Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Gleeson became a regular after Cummins retired in 2013 and he won an All-Star award for his performances in 2014.

7. Gavin O’Mahony (Limerick – Kilmallock)

The former Limerick captain announced his retirement in early November at the age of 30. The Kilmallock club man had been a part of the Limerick senior setup since 2007 and captained them for the 2011 campaign.

Gavin O'Mahony is carried from the field by fans Source: James Crombie/INPHO

He was captain when they won the Division 2 league title in 2011 and then enjoyed Munster final glory in 2013. One of his most memorable outings was in the 2009 quarter-final victory over Dublin, when he landed a stunning haul of 0-8 from wing-back.

8. James Ryan (Limerick – Garryspillane)

The Limerick captain from 2017 decided to bring his tenure to a close in November. He had initially taken some time last winter to consider his inter-county future before committing to the Limerick cause again for another year.

Limerick's James Ryan celebrates at the final whistle Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Ryan started out in 2008 with the Limerick senior hurlers and savoured a provincial triumph in the Gaelic Grounds in 2013. He also lined out for a few campaigns with the Limerick senior footballers.

9. John Griffin (Kerry – Lixnaw)

A long-serving figure from the Kingdom, John ‘Tweek’ Griffin retired from the inter-county scene back in May after Kerry’s Leinster round-robin campaign had ground to a half.

John Griffin Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

He was involved with the Kerry squad since 2003, enjoying successes in the Christy Ring Cup and the National League. At club level, Griffin won county senior hurling medals with Lixnaw and enjoyed All-Ireland club football success with Finuge.

10. John O’Keeffe (Tipperary – Clonoulty Rossmore)

A member of the All-Ireland senior winning panel in 2016, O’Keeffe retired in October. The defender was first drafted into the Premier panel during Declan Ryan’s time in charge before coming back into the frame when Michael Ryan was at the helm.

Padraic Maher celebrates at the final whistle with John O’Keefe John O'Keeffe celebrates Tipperary's 2016 All-Ireland final win with Padraic Maher. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The Clonoulty-Rossmore started in the 2011 All-Ireland senior decider and also enjoyed Munster senior triumphs.

11. Kieran Joyce (Kilkenny – Rower Inistioge)

Kieran Joyce retired in October with a trophy cabinet that was well stocked after his time with the Cats. He won four All-Ireland senior hurling medals and three National League medals, while he was also a former All-Ireland U21 and intermediate winner.

Kieran Joyce and Jackie Tyrell celebrates after the game Source: James Crombie/INPHO

In 2014 his performance at the heart of the defence in the All-Ireland final replay triumph against Tipperary saw him claim the man-of-the-match award.

12. Michael Fennelly (Kilkenny – Ballyhale Shamrocks)

The 32-year-old announced he was retiring from the inter-county game on Friday night after a fantastic career. His last appearance came in July’s qualifier defeat against Waterford after he had battled back from a ruptured Achilles tendon sustained in 2016.

Kilkenny's Michael Fennelly lifts the cup Michael Fennelly celebrates Kilkenny's 2014 All-Ireland final victory.

Despite suffering several injury setbacks during his career, Fennelly enjoyed several major triumphs since making his debut for Kilkenny in 2006. He won eight All-Ireland senior medals, nine Leinster titles and five National leagues.

Individually Fennelly captained Kilkenny to the Liam MacCarthy Cup victory in 2009, the Hurler of the Year award in 2011 and three All-Stars for his midfield displays.

13. Patrick Donnellan (Clare – O’Callaghan Mills)

The man who lifted the Liam MacCarthy Cup after Clare’s triumph in 2013 opted to call time on his days with the Banner in October. He had made his senior championship debut back in 2006.

Patrick Donnellan lifts the Liam MacCarthy cup Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

2013 was his best season involved as he captained Clare to success and also won an All-Star for his performances in their rearguard.

14. Shane Prendergast (Kilkenny – Clara)

The son of Kilkenny All-Ireland winner Paddy was a late developer in making his senior breakthrough for Kilkenny. He made his debut in 2014 in the league and would go on to start in the 2015 All-Ireland final success over Galway.

Shane Prendergast Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

In 2016, Prendergast captained Kilkenny when they lost out to Tipperary in the All-Ireland senior final. He retired in early November this year.

15. Stephen Clynch (Meath – Kilmessan)

Clynch spent 15 years in action for the Royal hurlers. He won five Kehoe Cups and claimed a Nicky Rackard Cup medal with his crowning glory arriving in 2016 when he notched the extra-time winner as Meath defeated Antrim in the Christy Ring Cup final.

Stephen Clynch and Michael O'Neill Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

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Fintan O'Toole

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