Donegal’s Neil McGee retires from intercounty football after 18 seasons

The 36-year-old full back made 195 appearances for the Ulster county, winning the All-Ireland title in 2012

Donegal full back Neil McGee has retired from intercounty after a record 195 appearances for Donegal. He made his championship debut against Down in 2006 and was a leading member of the team that won the All-Ireland title 10 years ago.

This was among many awards he picked up during an 18-season career.

Speaking to the Donegal News, McGee, who will be 37 in November, said that the cumulative effect of injuries had helped to make up his mind to focus his activities on his club, Gaoth Dobhair.

“The body just doesn’t have anything left to give. I thought long and hard about last year, going back I mean. And with Declan [Bonner] staying on, I decided to give it one more shot. But with the back playing up like it did after that injury the season before, I just didn’t feature like I would have wanted. So it was a much easier decision this time around.


“What ever is left in the tank now I intend to give it all to Gaoth Dobhair. I missed so much there over the years because of what we were trying to achieve with Donegal.

“But representing my county, it’s been such a massive part of my life but I can look back and say it was all worth it. I have no regrets. Yeah, there are games and big days that got away from us. And they stick in the throat. But if I could rewind the clock and do it all over again I would.”

McGee’s contribution — as well as that of his colleagues in Donegal’s defence — was at times underrated because of the team’s heavily defensive tactics but he was a highly regarded defender. The recipient of three All Star awards, he was also a regular on international rules teams in the early 2010s, making a significant contribution to the series wins in 2011 and 2013, as well as the defeat in 2014.

His career haul also included five Ulster titles in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2018 and 2019 as well as three national league success, Division One in 2007 — defeating Mayo in the final — and Division Two in 2011 and ‘19.

With Gaoth Dobhair, he has won three county titles and in 2018 was an Ulster club medallist before losing to eventual champions Corofin in the 2019 All-Ireland semi-final.