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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 23 March, 2018

Ireland striker Kevin Doyle announces retirement from football on medical advice

The 34-year-old had been included in Martin O’Neill’s extended squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND STRIKER KEVIN Doyle has this evening announced he has been forced to retire from football on medical advice after suffering two concussions this season.

The 34-year-old has experienced repeated headaches and after becoming increasingly concerned by the symptoms, has decided to call time on a 16-year playing career.

“Today I’m sad to announce that after listening to medical advice I will play no further part this season and will be retiring,” he said in a statement.

“This year it has been clear to me that heading the ball was becoming problematic and causing me to have repeated headaches. Two concussions this season and numerous others over the years have made this more concerning. After consulting the experts in this field, it has been decided that to avoid the possibility of these symptoms becoming more serious and permanent, I will be hanging my boots up for good.”

Doyle had been this week included in Martin O’Neill’s extended squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Wales, although had won the last of his 63 caps back in March against Iceland.

The Wexford native, who started his career in the League of Ireland with St Pat’s and then Cork City, had spent the last two-and-a-half years in America with Colorado Rapids.

In 71 Major League Soccer games, Doyle scored 16 goals and had become a key figure for the Rapids with their sporting director Pádraig Smith acknowledging his ‘invaluable’ contribution both on and off the field.

Prior to moving to the States, Doyle enjoyed a prolific 10-year career in England with Reading, Wolves, QPR and latterly Crystal Palace as he scored a combined 92 goals in 357 appearances.

For Ireland, Doyle never gave less than 100% in a green shirt. His international debut came against Sweden in March 2006 and the first of his 14 goals was against San Marino later that year.

Kevin Doyle celebrates scoring the winning goal Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

He played a key role during Ireland’s qualification for Euro 2012 under Giovanni Trapattoni and was been named FAI Young Player of the Year in 2006 and then Player of the Year in 2009.

“I will take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me during my career, especially my family, all the coaches and teammates I’ve had and the fans of any team I’ve played for whether in Ireland, the UK or the USA.

“I’d also like to thank the staff and everyone involved with Ireland and FAI during my 12 years in the national squad, they have always been supportive and for that I’m very appreciative.

“I’d like to give a special mention to Mick Wallace and Patrick Dolan who both had a lot more confidence than I did in my ability to become a professional as a teenager in Wexford.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time with the Colorado Rapids and playing in MLS has been a fantastic experience, I would have loved to have taken the opportunity offered to stay for another year. The staff, players and fans here have made me, and more importantly, my family feel at home in Denver and we will miss it.

“I’m privileged and proud to have fulfilled my childhood dream of playing for my country. Everything else was a bonus.

“Thanks and see you in Wexford.”

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