Whelan calls it a day

01 September 2009

Gerard Cafferky and Trevor Mortimer tackle Dublin's Ciaran Whelan during the NFL Division 1 game at Ballina
Ciaran Whelan has called time on his Dublin football career after 14 years of service.

The veteran midfielder's decision comes as no surprise after he had hinted at retirement in the wake of Dublin's 17-point All-Ireland SFC quarter-final drubbing by Kerry last month.

"Deep down in my own mind, I knew this would be the last year," he told the Evening Herald.

"I discussed it with the family at home and the way the year turned out, playing a limited amount of time and given the amount of commitment and effort that goes into it. It's really a time factor."

The Raheny clubman, who won six Leinster medals and two All-Stars but never got the opportunity to play in an All-Ireland final, revealed that he could no longer give the commitment required for another season at the top level. But he insisted that he retired with no regrets.

"My body isn't recovering as quick as I'd like. Every year the commitments are getting bigger.

"I reached the stage in my own head where I was quite clear that it was time to move on. But I've enjoyed every minute of it. For 14 years it's been a childhood dream come true. I wouldn't change any bit of it."

He added: "I was clear in my own mind that this year was my last year and I kind of made up my mind that I was giving it one last go under the new management. "Even if I had played more, I just know from the training this year that I found it very, very tough."

A player who was never far from controversy (he received a meaningless four-week ban for an incident involving Kerry's Aidan O'Mahony in the All-Ireland quarter-final), Whelan is adamant that there was "definitely a way back for this Dublin team" after their spectacular collapse against the Kingdom.

He plans to continue playing with Rahney for at least another season and will line out in Thursday night's Dublin SFC last 16 clash against Lucan Sarsfields.