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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 18 October, 2018
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'There were times when he left us with tears in our eyes' - injury forces leading Tipp defender to retire

Ciaran McDonald had been a leading defender for the Premier footballers in recent seasons.

INJURY HAS FORCED the retirement of Tipperary’s star defender Ciaran McDonald after a career that saw him captain the county to a historic first Munster U21 football triumph and feature for the Irish International Rules side.

Anthony Maher and Colm Cooper tackle Ciaran McDonald Aherlow man Ciaran McDonald pictured in action against Kerry's Anthony Maher and Colm Cooper. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

The news of McDonald’s departure was announced on Saturday night as the Tipperary squad were presented with medals for their Division 3 league final win last April.

28-year-old McDonald did not feature this season due to injury and he has been hampered in particular by hip problems in recent years.

Speaking at Saturday’s medal presentation in the Clonmel Park Hotel, Tipp boss Liam Kerans lauded McDonald’s role.

“It was his leadership skills that made him stand out. “Whenever there was a meeting and the players wanted to speak, you may have noticed that I always made sure Ciarán spoke last.

“That was because what he had to say would leave an impression. There were times when he left us with tears in our eyes.”

McDonald’s final game for the county came in the 2016 All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo, the last outing in a notable breakthrough campaign for Tipperary football.

Seamus O'Shea and Ciaran McDonald Tipperary's Ciaran McDonald in action against Mayo's Seamus O'Shea. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

He forged a reputation as one of the best man markers in the game since he made his senior championship debut for Tipperary in 2008 against Limerick.

He became an established inside defender for the Premier county, particularly impressive in the 2012 and 2014 campaigns when Tipperary reached Round 4 of the qualifiers, and in last summer’s run to the All-Ireland semi-final stage.

In 2010 McDonald was the captain when Tipperary made history in Tralee by defeating Kerry 1-7 to 1-6 to land their maiden Munster U21 football crown.

Players hold up captain Ciaran McDonald Ciaran McDonald lifted high by Tipperary team-mates in 2010. Source: James Crombie

He was also part of the Irish International Rules squad that travelled to Australia in 2014.

Ciaran McDonald and Michael Murphy Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

McDonald featured in Tipperary’s league final wins when they claimed the Division 3 title against Down in 2009 and lifted the Division 4 crown in 2014 against Clare.

With his club Aherlow McDonald was part of Tipperary county senior final victories in 2006 and 2010.

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Fintan O'Toole

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