Leitrim forward Emlyn Mulligan retires from intercounty football

The 35-year-old made his senior debut for the county in 2006

Leitrim forward Emlyn Mulligan has retired from intercounty football.

The 35-year-old former Leitrim captain, who made his senior debut in 2006, has been forced to step away due to persistent injuries. He suffered three cruciate knee ligament injuries during his career – in 2009, 2010 and 2017.

Regarded as one of Leitrim’s most gifted forwards, Mulligan reached the milestone of 100 appearances for his county during their league encounter with Sligo at Markievicz Park last March.

His Leitrim career appeared to be over after he stepped away from the squad in 2019 following a Connacht quarter-final loss to Roscommon, but Andy Moran recalled Mulligan to the panel ahead of the 2022 season.


He featured from the bench in both of Leitrim’s Tailteann Cup games last year, but problematic injury issues curtailed his involvement this term. He did make substitute appearances in Leitrim’s round five and six games, against Carlow and Wicklow respectively. However, Mulligan did not feature against Sligo last weekend, and has now announced his intercounty retirement ahead of their Connacht SFC opener against New York next week.

Writing on Twitter, Mulligan said: “Unfortunately, my days of representing Leitrim GAA have come to an end. Past injuries have caught up with me and my body just can’t deal with the demands to compete at inter-county level anymore.

“It was a pleasure. Thanks for all the support since making my league debut in 2006 until now.

“Looking forward to heading to New York next week, now as a supporter, to cheer on Andy and the lads.”

Speaking to The Irish Times last year, Mulligan talked about his ongoing knee problems, the worn away cartilage and how a knee replacement might be required in the future.

“It is something you have to think about because I suppose you don’t want to be hobbling around all your life afterwards, so you have to consider that as well,” Mulligan said at the time.

“I can get away playing the game fine, and even the day afterwards is okay, but it is the second and third day that are the problem. I’d be constantly putting ice on. I’d love to play next year for Leitrim, finishing up this year missing the penalty against Sligo isn’t the ideal way to end it. From my head to my hips, I’m 100 per cent, but it’s the knees that will ultimately let me know. The body will dictate if I am able to or not.”

Despite his limited involvement this season, Mulligan did maintain the habit of a lifetime in green and gold by getting himself on the scoreboard in Leitrim’s win over Carlow by clipping over a point.

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times