MAYO’S DONAL VAUGHAN has called time on his 12-year inter-county football career.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have come to the decision that the time is now right to hang up my boots,” the 32-year-old wrote in a heartfelt statement issued to The Irish Examiner this afternoon.

Vaughan, now of the Castlebar Mitchels club having transferred from his native Ballinrobe, started in five All-Ireland senior finals through a colourful career but missed out on a sixth in 2020 after an injury-hampered season. 

The veteran centre-half back has been ever-present for Mayo since making his debut against New York in 2009; and has been central to the Green and Red establishing themselves as a consistent championship force over the last decade or so.

Vaughan came close to All-Star awards in 2011 and 2013 after several memorable displays. Alongside Lee Keegan and Colm Boyle in the half-back line, he was always a reliable servant for the Westerners, who were so close yet so far time and time again.

An energetic defender, fond of bombing forward and chipping in with a score or two, he was man-of-the-match in the 2016 drawn All-Ireland final — but a knock to the head forced him off at half-time in the replay. Infamously, he also didn’t finish the 2017 final after being shown a red card.

In 2019, he won a Division 1 national league medal to go along with the six Connacht championship titles he had previously earned. 

The statement from Vaughan, who runs a shoe retail business and whose wife recently gave birth to a baby boy, continues: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the army of Mayo fans for all of their support over the years, especially to those who took the time to send me cards, letters and messages.

“I would like to thank all of my current and previous management teams, medical, county board officers and support teams who have helped me over the years. I would also like to thank all of the people who helped to develop me as a footballer from an early age.

“To my parents John and Tricia, my sisters Ailish, Laura and Mary, all close and extended family and friends who have followed me to every corner of the country, I will never forget your love and support.

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“My wife Mairéad has been a pillar of support to me and I would like to take this opportunity to thank her. I’m looking forward to going to games in the future with her and our new-born son Eddie and cheering Mayo on.

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“To my fellow teammates who I have soldiered with over the last twelve years: it has been an honour and a privilege to wear the green and red alongside you with pride. You are men of outstanding character and relentless drive.

“Finally, I would like to acknowledge how tough a year this has been for everybody. Stay strong and stay safe.

“Maigh Eo Abú – Donie.”

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