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Dublin: 9°C Friday 16 April 2021

The last remaining footballer to make his Championship debut in the 1990s has retired

Longford legend Paul Barden is hanging up his boots after 16 seasons.

Image: Presseye/John McIlwaine/INPHO

LONGFORD LEGEND PAUL Barden, the last remaining footballer to have made his Championship debut in the 1990s, has retired.

The veteran forward, who will be remembered as one of the county’s greats, called time on his inter-county career today after a remarkable 16 years at senior level.

“I’ve had four years to decide,” he told the Longford Leader in an exclusive interview.

“I know myself that the work rate required to get myself fully fit for another campaign is simply too much for a 34-year-old’s body.”

Team-mates immediately paid tribute with Declan Reilly describing Barden as his “sporting hero.”

Exceptional player, fantastic friend, gentleman. You only miss something when it’s gone.

Barden made his first Championship appearance in 1999 and quickly went on to become one of Longford’s key men.

He won an O’Byrne Cup medal with Longford that same year, and Division 4 and 3 National Football League titles in 2011 and 2012 respectively, as well as representing Ireland during the 2006 International Rules series.

Remarkably, he never won an Allstar.

Here are some more of the tributes:

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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