Longford legend Paul Barden retires from inter-county action
The end of an era for the midlanders
The longest serving inter-county footballer in the country has decided to hang up his boots after playing for a 17th season proved beyond Paul Barden. The forward was struggling to overcome an Achilles injury which had put his participation for the Division Four side in doubt this season.
He made his debut for Longford back in 1998,when as an 18-yard old he faced Carlow in the then summer version of the Allianz League and even manged to score a goal to mark the occasion.
His first championship appearance was in the summer of '99 as he faced Wexford in the Leinster championship when he scored 1-2 in the draw in New Ross before betting 1-4 in the replay win at Pearse Park. In total he made 52 appearances for Longford in the championship, having never missed a game.
The Clonguish man was regularly namechecked as one of the finest forwards in the country but struggled to achieve any success with his native county. He did pick up an O'Byrne cup medal in 2000 and was also part of two Internationl Rules panels in 2002 and 2006.
His best championship season came in 2006 when Longford beat Waterford, Tipperary and Derry before facing Kerry in Killarney in the qualifiers. Longford lost by nine points on an afternoon when the Kingdom unleashed Kieran Donaghy at full forward for the very first time
Paul barren an absolute marvellous footballer. Seen him first hand cutting wreck many times. Great direct runner. Another good one gone!!!
— Tomás Ó Sé (@tomas5ky) February 4, 2015
— willie McDermott (@WDermott) February 4, 2015
@dickclerkin8 the only 1990s I/co Gaelic footballer left now after Paul Barden's retirement. Dick made league debut 1999.
— Damian Lawlor (@LawlorDamian) February 4, 2015
There is also this tribute by a fellow GAA legend