ArmaghGAA.net caught up with Tir na Nog’s Brian Mallon following his decision to retire from Intercounty Football. I was keen to learn and a man who has dedicated so much of his life to his County comes to such a difficult decision.
“My heart wanted to go back this year but my body and a big part of my mind was saying otherwise. I have dedicated 11 years of my life to the senior panel and I was extremely privileged to have been given the opportunity to do so. However, the time comes for all players at some point to step aside and reluctantly I felt this was mine. The commitment necessary to be an intercounty player is huge, getting even more demanding and every year the rewards that result from that effort can be highly uncertain. This was purely a footballing decision and I now wish to dedicate more time and effort to my family and club.”
That was Brian though, a brilliantly dedicated County man with the desire to give the same to his Club. He would be seen at many an underage training session when he could get the time. No doubt trying to train the next Andy McCann or well….Brian Mallon! I’ve two young kids within the Club and all the kids looked up to and aspire to be the next Brian Mallon.
But how easy is the decision to quit after 11 years? “It was an extremely hard decision which I have deliberated over continuously this past number of weeks. Whilst I didn’t always play as well as I would’ve liked, I know that I always gave 100% for the team. In the end though this was purely a footballing decision and I now wish to dedicate more time and effort to my family and club.”
Looking back over Brian’s career, many of you will recall his 2004 appearance in Clones against Cavan when we were struggling to push ahead in a game against 14 men, Brian’s two late scores earned us a 2 point victory. He went on that year to star for Un21’s All-Ireland success with Aaron Kernan and Ciaran McKeever. We’ll always remember how he changed games and never shrugged responsibility, a real “senior player”.
Despite all of Brian’s high’s throughout his career one moment in his career stands out “one of the highlights of my career was ironically probably also my greatest disappointment. Throughout the 2005 season the team were playing some of the best football any Armagh team has ever produced and we went 15 games unbeaten. Unfortunately, in a game we should’ve won we lost out to Tyrone in the AI semi final. We should’ve won an All-Ireland that year.”
A dedicated County man on the pitch, will no doubt be a dedicated County fan “I would like to wish Kieran, the backroom and all the players all the very best for 2015. The potential for the team is huge and hopefully this coming season their effort and dedication will be rewarded. Anyone that knows me knew how much playing for Armagh mean’t to me and next season I will be the team’s biggest supporter.”
Having worked with some great Managers and Players over the last decade Brian added “I would like to thank all the players, managers, backroom teams and indeed supporters who ensured that playing for Armagh was always something that I did with great pride.”
Brian, we would like to thank you! For all the years of hard work and dedication you gave to our County, for all those memorable days as a young raw talent bursting through to an example of what it takes to remain a successful County Player. Enjoy your retirement, we’ll see you in the stands of the Athletic Grounds soon cheering on the Orchard County and playing “up at the hill” in the red and white of Tir na Nog.