Galway’s Gary Sice to retire from inter-county football

Corofin forward the latest name not available for manager Kevin Walsh

Galway will have to plan without Gary Sice for their return to Division 1 football after the Corofin forward informed Kevin Walsh of his decision to retire from inter-county football.

Walsh confirmed Sice’s decision on Sunday after the county’s FBD League match with Mayo, which was postponed just after the scheduled throw-in due to a frozen pitch.

Sice, who turned 33 in November, made his inter-county debut in 2007 and his final game for the Tribesmen looks like being last summer’s Connacht final defeat to Roscommon at Pearse Stadium.

Sice is still involved with Corofin in their All-Ireland club championship campaign, which continues in a fortnight’s time against British champions Fulham Irish, and would be unavailable to Galway until their involvement in the competition concludes, but he has confirmed to management his decision to step back from the county game.

Already Walsh will be without the retired Michael Meehan and Finian Hanley, while captain Gary O'Donnell and a number of other front line players will miss league action.

"Obviously Michael Meehan, Gary Sice and Finian Hanley have called it a day," said Walsh. "Sean Armstrong is still undergoing his own programme, whether he will make league or not at this stage, it will be tight.

"Gary O'Donnell is (out until) mid league, Fiontán Ó Curraoin will miss the league, Michael Daly will probably miss the whole league as well. It disappointing for us to get to Division 1 and to be missing that amount."

Late decision

Meanwhile, Walsh hit out at the late decision by officials to postpone yesterday's clash with Mayo at MacHale Park.

A pitch inspection shortly before throw in by referee Paddy Neilan resulted in the game being officially called off minutes after the scheduled 2pm throw-in, and Walsh says the last minute call was unfair on supporters who travelled, and were not refunded their €10 entrance fee, but got a match voucher instead.

“There was no option there. The pitch isn’t playable that’s the bottom line. There is no point waiting half an hour because it’s still freezing,” said Walsh.

“It is awful disappointing to have to travel up and get young lads ready for this and not be able to go out and play. It is what it is, it’s about welfare of players but a pity it wasn’t made an hour or two earlier.

“But we can’t be thinking about ourselves, it is all the supporters that left home this morning, loading up and the price of petrol and diesel heading up here.

“I see they’ll get a ticket to go to the next game but I’m sure that won’t fill their (fuel) tanks. It’s disappointing for a family of youngsters even though the game will come up again.

“You’d certainly be hoping that maybe you’d think that by 11 o’clock this morning you’d know if it was playable or not before people left home.

“We left Loughgeorge at half past seven. You expect to get that call before it happened. It’s not as if we have a 12-hour day of sunlight at this time of the year. It is disappointing.”

Rescheduled

The game has been rescheduled for next Friday night at MacHale Park and Mayo manager Stephen Rochford is also faced with a redrawing of his plans. One Wednesday night they take on Leitrim at MacHale Park, while they face a third game in five days against Roscommon next Sunday.

The Mayo first team squad will return home from their holiday to Malaysia this Wednesday, but already Rochford is planning without the services of plenty of his leading players, including Lee Keegan, while Seamus O'Shea, Donal Vaughan and Chris Barrett face lay-offs.

“Lee is making good progress. He is abroad at the moment and we will assess him when he comes back but at the moment we are planning that he won’t be available for the league.

“We will be without Seamie O’Shea with a knee injury for the vast majority if not all the league. Donal Vaughan has got a problem that will reduce his participation and he will probably not play in it.

“Chris Barrett picked up an injury coming off the international Rules which will keep him out for at least the first four games. It’s a knee injury. He has had a procedure done.”

READ MORE