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Emlyn Mulligan left out of Leitrim squad for 2020

The long-serving forward has vowed not to retire.

Emlyn Mulligan.
Emlyn Mulligan.

EMLYN MULLIGAN HAS been left out of Terry Hyland’s Leitrim squad for the 2020 season, but he says he will never retire from inter-county football.

Mulligan, who turned 32 yesterday, quit the county panel after last summer’s Connacht championship defeat to Roscommon, and has not been asked back into the set-up by Hyland as they embark on their first stint in Division 3 since 2008.

Mulligan worked his way back from a third cruciate ligament injury in time to play for Leitrim in their Division 4 final against Derry at Croke Park earlier this year, but he admits he succumbed to the pressure he placed on himself during the summer and walked away for the sake of his mental health.

And while he says he’d love to be part of the county panel for 2020, he has no issue with Hyland’s decision.

“There’s no point beating around the bush, I haven’t been called back into the panel. It’s as simple as that really,” said Mulligan.

“Terry hasn’t made any contact with me. I walked away from the panel last year after the Roscommon game, I didn’t think we left on bad terms as such, and I know he came out afterwards and said the door would be still open.

“But I didn’t think it was up to me ringing looking to come back, and I thought if Terry wanted me he’d ring me. Obviously he has planned without me and unfortunately that’s the way it has ended. Looking ahead this year I’m not going to be part of the panel. I accept that from Terry’s point of view. He’s the manager at the end of the day. They probably want to look at younger lads and lads for the future.”

After a stint playing club football in Dublin with St Brigid’s, Mulligan returned to play with his native Melvin Gaels last year and he has since accepted an offer from former county manager Benny Guckian to be a selector with the county U17 team.

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But the former county captain knows he feel like he’s missing out when the team start their 2020 season against Down in Carrick-on-Shannon.

“From my point of view it’s disappointing and I still feel I have something to offer, but I’m not going to whinge about it. I have had enough setbacks in my playing career. Whether it’s me finished with Leitrim football that’s questionable. I’m 32 today and not getting any younger, but the body feels as good as it has ever felt.

“Last season I went from one of the top picks to nearly 12th pick. I lost a lot of confidence throughout the year. It was a scenario that I was never used to and I found it hard to deal with it.

“That was the main reason I walked away after the Roscommon game, for my own mental health and the way I was overthinking everything. I said ‘Listen, I have to step away from it’.

“I went back to the club and tried to get back that bit of confidence and enjoyment out of the game. I had lost the enjoyment of the game and that was a disappointment. After the season we were after having getting to Croke Park and all, but I suppose the pressure I felt I was under myself, it took the enjoyment away from it. But it’s a game of football at the end of the day and I won’t get carried away.

“I know come January and February when the league starts, you’d want to be back in it. I’m not retired officially, I’ll always be available for Leitrim unless Leitrim retire me. If that’s the way it ends up that’s the way it ends up.”

About the author:

Declan Rooney

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