Waterford great calls time on inter-county career after a remarkable 19-season stint

Déise ladies football stalwart Michelle Ryan has announced her inter-county retirement.

Calling it a day: Michelle Ryan.
Calling it a day: Michelle Ryan.

WATERFORD GREAT MICHELLE Ryan has called time on her inter-county career after 19 seasons. 

Waterford LGFA announced the news on Twitter last night, with the Déise now without one of their stalwarts, and star forwards, for 2020 and thereafter.

“After a [19] season career Michelle Ryan has called time on her storied inter-county career,” the tweet read, alongside a list of honours. “On behalf of Waterford LGFA I’d like to thank Michelle. She retires as a great of Waterford football & Waterford sport.”

Ryan will continue to play for her club, Ballymacarbry, who won their 38th county senior title in-a-row last year.

The 34-year-old joined the Waterford senior panel in 2001, and went on to enjoy a colourful career at the highest level. With her star already rising after All-Ireland titles on the underage scene (U14 in 1998, and minor in 2001 and 2000), Ryan helped Waterford to her only Munster senior crown in 2002.

The highlight of her career is perhaps the 2015 All-Ireland intermediate title win in Croke Park, and Waterford’s return to the top flight.

Ryan also bows out with three National League titles across three divisions — her most recent the Division 2 medal she pocketed last May (Division 1 in 2002, Division 3 in 2014) — and seven Munster intermediate honours.

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Munster Player of the Year in 2017, Ryan was twice nominated for an All-Star and was recognised with several other individual honours, including four Team of the League appearances, interprovincial selections and victories there, and she travelled to Toronto on the 2012 All-Star trip.

“It’s something I’ve been mulling over the last couple of weeks and months,” she told WLRfm this morning. “It was a very difficult decision, I’ll always have huge emotional attachment to playing with Waterford.”

A graduate of the LGFA leadership programme, Ryan has already established herself on the national media landscape as a pundit and analyst on TG4, and looks set to continue to do so in retirement.

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