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Thursday 17 August 2017

Midfield maestro Colin hangs up his boots

Healy came home to play for Cork City in 2007 and, following spells at Ipswich (where he played under Roy Keane) and Falkirk, he returned to Cork in 2012. Photo: Sportsfile
Healy came home to play for Cork City in 2007 and, following spells at Ipswich (where he played under Roy Keane) and Falkirk, he returned to Cork in 2012. Photo: Sportsfile

Former Ireland international Colin Healy has been hailed as one of the best-ever players to wear the Cork City shirt after he announced his decision to retire from football.

Healy (37) helped his home-town club win the FAI Cup last season and while he had debated whether to carry on his playing career, the former Celtic and Sunderland man has now opted to quit.

"For over the past 20 years I've felt extremely lucky to call a sport I love my job. Representing Ireland at senior international level and making my debut for Glasgow Celtic are honours that I will cherish forever," said Healy as he confirmed his decision.

Healy broke into the Celtic first team in 1999, making his debut in an Old Firm defeat when he was still in his teens.

While still at Celtic he won his first senior international cap, under Mick McCarthy, against Russia in March 2002, starting in midfield alongside Roy Keane and three months later he narrowly missed out on a trip to the World Cup finals as Keane's replacement after the Saipan controversy.

He moved to Sunderland in 2003 but suffered two leg breaks which almost ended Healy's career.

Healy came home to play for Cork City in 2007 and, following spells at Ipswich (where he played under Roy Keane) and Falkirk, he returned to Cork in 2012.

Since his decision to quit, supporters have already mentioned Healy as one of the club's most-gifted players.

"Over the last three years that I have been here, he made a massive contribution to the club," says manager John Caulfield.

"He played a huge part in us returning to European football but, most importantly, winning the cup last year, which he played a huge part in. That was a fitting way for him to finish out his career, after the heights he reached as a player, to win a trophy with his local club."

Healy played 13 times at senior international level, capped for the final time in a 2-0 loss to Switzerland in the qualifiers for Euro 2004.

The Ballincollig lad was offered a deal by a new-look Waterford FC at the start of this season but he opted not to sign and and is likely to focus on a coaching career now that he's decided to hang up his boots.

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