Ireland’s most capped player hangs up his hockey stick

Olympian Eugene Magee, who won 295 caps in 15 years, will contine to play for Banbridge

Ireland’s Eugene Magee played at the 2016 Olympic Games and won European bronze in 2015. Photograph: Rowland White/Presseye/Inpho

Ireland’s Eugene Magee played at the 2016 Olympic Games and won European bronze in 2015. Photograph: Rowland White/Presseye/Inpho

 

Ireland’s most capped male player Eugene Magee has formally retired from international hockey after 15 years and 295 caps at the top of the game, playing at the 2016 Olympic Games and winning European bronze in 2015.

The Banbridge man had previously indicated he would retire at the end of the 2020 Olympic cycle, something which came to pass last October in cruel fashion in Vancouver.

His last international touch was a delicious shoot-out dummy that put Ireland 4-3 ahead of Canada but the side could not see out the victory that would have brought a ticket to Tokyo.

Those skills were indicative of what he brought to the game, a unique skillset with a heavy hurling influence from his days with the Down minors combined with a rock-hard will.

Magee rubber-stamped his decision to step back yesterday evening with interim head coach Mark Tumilty, who worked extensively with Magee at Bann, leading the tributes.

‘One of the best’

“He has been a fantastic servant to Irish Hockey and played a key role in the success of the team over the last decade,” Tumilty said. “Eugene will rightly be regarded as one of the best to have worn the green shirt.”

For Magee, himself, he said: “I have enjoyed 15 years as part of the Irish men’s hockey team and it has been my privilege to represent my country among so many talented players.

“To be able to play hockey with your friends is one thing but to compete on an international scale takes a huge amount of work from a lot of people and to them I am truly grateful.

“International hockey has been a huge part of my life and although it will feel strange to retire, I feel very privileged to have gained all the experiences I have had and to have played my part for the team.”

The 33-year-old will continue to play Banbridge.

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