‘I’ve pushed myself to the limits’ - Joe McMahon retires
Comfortable lining out anywhere on the field, ‘Big Joe’ epitomised the Tyrone way
Tyrone’s Joe McMahon has announced his retirement. Photograph: Inpho
Tyrone will have to do without the services of Joe McMahon for their upcoming Ulster title defence, and beyond, after the 33-year-old announced his retirement on Monday morning.
The Omagh club man, who won two All Ireland senior medals in 2005 and 2008, initially broke through as a fullback before operating more regularly in the middle of the park and in a half forward role. This would've been his 13th year with Mickey Harte's senior panel.
Comfortable lining out anywhere on the field from one to fifteen, ‘Big Joe’ epitomised the Tyrone way, winning four Ulster titles, and a senior county championship with his club in 2014.
The 6ft 2in teacher was joined on the senior panel by his younger brother Justin in 2007, and the duo marked the Kerry 'Twin Towers' of Kieran Donaghy and Tommy Walsh in the 2008 decider.
In a statement released by the Tyrone county board he cited a catalogue of recent injuries as the reason for his decision.
He missed all of last season with a groin problem and despite signalling an intent to return in 2017 he has been unable to do so.
“The combination of injuries over the last two years and the struggle to respond to treatment to gain the fitness required at this level has compelled me to call time on my inter-county career,” he explained.
“I have pushed myself to the limits working closely with the Tyrone medical team but I have to accept the reality that it is my body which is saying it’s game over. Hopefully though, I will still be able to play with my club, Omagh St Enda’s.
“I was very fortunate to have played with and against some of the greatest players to have graced the game and under one the GAA’s greatest managers, Mickey Harte.
“ I am so indebted to those who helped me along the way - my wife Geraldine and I must mention my children Aoibhe, Anna and Joseph, my parents, family, friends and my club Omagh St Enda’s, my former schools Omagh CBS and St Conor’s P.S and St Mary’s College Belfast.
“I acknowledge the support of the Tyrone backroom teams and the friendship of Mickey Moynagh over the years. The GPA has also been a great help in time of need.
“I can reflect now on the elements that make Tyrone such a passionate county for its football - the County Board, Club Tyrone and the loyal supporters with their families. I thank all of them for the generosity of their time and resources and for the brilliant memories shared.
“I wish all my colleagues in the 2017 squad every success for the championship ahead. I say to them, enjoy all your days with Tyrone. There is no greater honour than pulling on the jersey.”