Coughlan, McLoughlin, Hickey and McCaffrey were amongst those to retire this season.
FOR SOME PLAYERS, the 2018 hurling season was particularly significant.
A year where they decided at different junctures to call it a day, bringing the segment of their lives that revolved around inter-county hurling to a close.
Here’s ten that cut their ties with the elite level of hurling this year.
1. Ruairi Convery (Derry)
Midfield on the Derry minor footballers that swept to an All-Ireland victory in 2002, Convery forged a career away from the lights with the county’s senior hurling side. He enjoyed a couple of landmark days in Nicky Rackard Cup successes in 2006 – shooting 2-7 in that final – and last year when the veteran came off the bench to assist a Croke Park win over Armagh.
'Laochra Gael' – An Oakleaf legend, an All-Ireland minor football winner, Poc Fada King, a warrior and a gentleman; on behalf of all Derry Gaels, we thank Ruairí Convery for 15 years of service to our senior hurling team. Go raibh mile maith agat! #CandC #BigRuairi pic.twitter.com/mvM2RvSM6O
— Derry GAA (@Doiregaa) January 8, 2018
Source: Derry GAA/Twitter
Convery was a long-serving figure in Derry colours.
Source: Presseye/John McIlwaine/INPHO
2. Barry Coughlan (Waterford)
An established member of the Waterford side as he nailed down a place at full-back, Coughlan retired after being involved for six seasons. He won a National League medal in 2015, featured in a couple of Munster finals for the Deise and was part of the side that lost out to Galway in the 2017 All-Ireland decider.
He’ll still be involved in hurling at a major level next year with newly-crowned Munster club champions Ballygunner as they prepare to take on Ballyhale Shamrocks in February’s All-Ireland semi-final.
Barry Coughlan in action in Ennis in the Munster SHC this year.
3. Seamus Hickey (Limerick)
No one bowed out on a happier note this year than the Murroe-Boher man. Hickey made his debut for Limerick as a teenager for Limerick in 2006, won Young Hurler of the Year the following season and then was schooled on the harsher lessons of the game from thereon. In 2018 he finally got his reward, part of Limerick’s moment of Liam MacCarthy Cup glory and then he retired in December.
Seamus Hickey lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup with his daughter
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
4. Patrick Kelly (Clare)
A recent retiree, Kelly was a netminder who emerged during Davy Fitzgerald’s reign in charge of Clare. He was between the posts for the crowning moment of that tenure as Clare lifted the Liam MacCarthy Cup after a win over Cork in a thrilling replay in Croke Park. The Inagh-Kilnamona man didn’t manage to nail down a regular starting place of late and opted to depart.
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Patrick Kelly was celebrating when Clare triumphed in the 2013 All-Ireland decider.
Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO
5. Peter Kelly (Dublin)
In April it was announced the All-Star winning full-back was departing the Dublin camp. Kelly won that personal award in 2013, the same season when he played a vital role in Dublin’s Leinster breakthrough under the guidance of Anthony Daly. After making a comeback initially in the early stages of the 2018 season under Pat Gilroy, Kelly made the call to depart before the championship commenced. This year, similar to recent seasons, he was plagued by injuries which hampered his capacity to impact for the capital outfit.
Kelly retired in April from Dublin hurling duty.
6. Johnny McCaffrey (Dublin)
McCaffrey brought the curtain down on a 12-year career for the Dublin senior hurlers earlier this month. Along with his club-mate Kelly, he returned to the Dublin fold this season under Pat Gilroy. A talented underage figure, McCaffrey stepped up to the Dublin senior ranks as he helped them win a National league title in 2011, a couple of Walsh Cup finals and was captain on a celebratory day when they won the Leinster senior championship in 2013 after a long spell in the wilderness.
Johnny McCaffrey captained Dublin to provincial glory in 2013.
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7. Lorcan McLoughlin (Cork)
A 3-time Munster senior victor, McLoughlin bowed out from the Cork squad in November. He’d been involved for nine seasons, making his debut in a league match against Offaly in 2010.
McLoughlin tasted Munster senior glory with Cork teams in 2014, 2017 and 2018, while the closest he came to a Liam MacCarthy Cup victory was in 2013 when Cork lost out to Clare after a final replay.
Lorcan McLoughlin was part of a Munster hurling triumph in July.
8. Ian O’Regan (Waterford)
A long-serving figure on Waterford squads, O’Regan made his debut in the 2004 All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny and had to wait nine years for his next start in a championship tie. He served under four different Waterford managers during his career and was primarily an understudy to Stephen O’Keeffe during Derek McGrath’s reign.
So the journey has ended , what a pleasure it was to play with and against some of the greats of the game . #herestoanewadventure😉 @MountSionGAA @WaterfordGAA #memoriesforlife #bestsportintheworld pic.twitter.com/0NIp9nLXsn
— iggy o regan (@iggyoregan) October 10, 2018
Source: iggy o regan/Twitter
Ian O’Regan signing autographs for Waterford fans after last March’s clash with Clare.
Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO
9. David Redmond (Wexford)
In mid-January, Redmond announced his decision to retire. He had given a decade of service to Wexford senior setups since getting his first taste of championship action in 2008 against Dublin and making his last appearance in the All-Ireland quarter-final defeat in 2017 to Waterford.
Redmond participated in a couple of Leinster hurling finals but came up short on both occasions. At club level he sparkled for Oulart-the-Ballagh as they won a bunch of Wexford county finals and finally ended their Leinster heartbreak in the 2015 final.
David Redmond retired in January.
10. Sean Ryan (Offaly)
Ryan bowed out after 13 seasons with Offaly sides where he had juggled commitments to the county football and hurling sides. The Birr native was captain of the Offaly hurlers last year and had been focused solely on their fortunes since 2012. Previously Ryan had performed for six years for the Offaly footballers after his debut in 2006 and was a dual operator for two campaigns.
Sean Ryan (lefts) lines up with Galway counterpart David Burke before last year’s Leinster semi-final.
11. Paul Dermody (Kildare)
A long-serving member of the Lilywhite camp, Dermody came on as a late substitute in the Christy Ring Cup final success in June as he got to bow out in style in Kildare’s triumph over London at Croke Park.
Best of luck in retirement to Kildare’s veteran net minder Paul Dermody
Over a decade of service to inter county hurling, winning 2 Christy Ring titles, 3 National League Titles and achieving 2 GPA Champion 15 Awards in 2009 & 2014
Best wishes Paul pic.twitter.com/Q11HjpJEJe
— GPA (@gaelicplayers) December 12, 2018
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