Two former All Stars retired this week. Neither was bolt from the blue but both will be missed. Pádraic Collins and Brendan Harrison were All Stars at one point although each had very different careers.
Harrison, 31, joins an outflow of Mayo footballers in the past couple of years and since the end of last season joins Jason Doherty and Kevin McLoughlin. A top-class corner back, he was recognised as such by the 2016 All Star and a nomination the following year.
From the Aghamore club, he made his county debut in the 2014 league match against Kildare and, coincidentally, that is where his intercounty career wrapped up last season.
Harrison was plagued with knee injuries and decided that he couldn’t support a county career with Mayo in the light of the training restrictions he would have to observe. He played 67 times in league and championship for Mayo.
Pádraic Collins began his dual intercounty championship career with Clare hurlers in 2012 against Waterford. A year later, he was on the team that beat Cork after a replay to win the All-Ireland and he finished the year as an All Star and nomination for both Hurler and Young Hurler of the Year – losing out to team-mate Tony Kelly in both categories. Originally chosen as a corner forward, his contribution in 2013 was immense and at centre forward.
He was also an accomplished footballer and for one spell, made himself available to both county teams before concentrating on hurling again and, finally, in recent years making himself exclusively available to the Clare footballers, managed by his father Colm.
Colm Collins stepped down after 10 years in the role at the end of this season and his son, at 32, followed suit having concluded his career with a defeat in Derry. His father remains in charge of their club, Cratloe and expects Pádraic to continue playing there.