PAUL Hearty, one of the most decorated club players of all time, has called time on his playing career with Crossmaglen.
The news comes in the wake of the side’s Armagh semi-final loss to Maghery and privately Hearty had long since indicated that this would be his last statement.
The former Orchard goalkeeper won 19 Armagh Championships, 11 Ulster titles and six All-Ireland crowns. He also achieved another personal goal when he lifted his first county and provincial championships as team captain.
Hearty was inducted into the Gaelic Life Club Allstars Hall of Fame in 2013 alongside clubmate Oisin McConville.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement from Gaelic football today,” he said in a statement released through his Twitter account.
“The time is right to call the curtain on my 23-season career (1995-2017). In that time I have been blessed to have been part of a hugely successful period for our club, Crossmaglen Rangers. 19 Armagh titles, 11 Ulster Club titles and 6 All-Ireland club titles is testament to the hard work, dedication and unbelievable commitment by all the players and management that have cycled through the club in this time.
“Firstly I will start by thanking my family, my mother and late father for backing me all through the early years and then to my wife and children, whose love, support and sacrifice throughout my career I will never forget.
“Thanks to all the management teams who took the time to manage what is a very time consuming job, from Joe Kernan, who had the courage to play a young 16-year-old goalkeeper in his quest to secure a first county title in ten years for the club right through to Gareth O’Neill today.
“Thanks also to all the players I have played with past and present, the huge sacrifices that were made through the years to achieve something that will never be forgotten.
“Something I will miss very much will be sharing that changing room with some of the best friends you could ever hope to have, the lifelong friends you make through the GAA is something to cherish and be proud of.”