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24th Nov 2014

Sad day as Benny Coulter calls time on stunning 15-year Down GAA career

Conan Doherty

It’s the news no Down fan wanted to hear.  It’s the news no GAA fan wanted to hear.

Benny Coulter has retired from inter-county football, bringing to a close 15 phenomenal seasons with Down and going out as one of the most respected athletes in the country.

The Mayobridge man announced today his decision to sadly hang up his Mourne jersey as the Official Down Facebook page released this statement on his behalf:

‘It is with a heavy heart that I have made the decision to retire from Inter County Football. I have enjoyed immensely my time as an Inter CountyFootball but after 15 Seasons I have decided that the time has come to allow a younger breed of Down Footballer the chance to make their mark.

I would like to thank a number of people from the bottom of my heart for the support that they have given me over the years.

My Club Mayobridge first gave me my love of Gaelic Football and to all the mentors who spent time over the years moulding me into the player and person I became I am most grateful. I will continue to give of my best in the Sky Blue of Mayobridge for as long as Team Mentors feel I can make a positive contribution.

My Minor Manager Gerry Dougherty brought me to All Ireland Minor Glory and allowed me to sample what it was like to win an All Ireland Minor Medal.

Peter McGrath gave me my first taste of Senior Inter County Football and I will always thank Pete for that opportunity.

Paddy O Rourke was a great help to me in football terms and on a personal level and I have many fond memories of my time working with Paddy and his Management Team.

Ross Carr and DJ Kane were my next Managers and we too had many good days especially the victory over Tyrone in Newry in 2008.

In 2010 I was privileged and honoured to lead my County in the All Ireland Final and I will always regret that we failed to deliver on the day, I am indebted to James McCartan for the support he gave me in the five years that he was Team Manager. I had played with James and it was an absolute honour to have worked with him as Manager.

I would like to place on record my thanks to the Down County Board for supporting me throughout my playing career I was looked after at all times in the best possible manner.

To the Medical Teams over the years I thank you all for the care and attention given to me.

I thank the Down Supporters who always were there for me and lifted my spirits many times at crucial stages in games or when I was preparing to enter the fray.

To my family and in particular my mother and father who supported me all through my County career I offer a heartfelt thanks you certainly helped make it easy for me to be an Inter County Footballer.

I wish the present Down panel and Manager Jim McCorry every success in the season ahead, those boys are like my brothers and I will be supporting them fully throughout the year ahead.’

All the very best, Benny.  We’re going to miss your relentless surges for the posts.  Sit back and marvel in this man’s genius one more time.

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