Dublin-born defender Mark O'Brien has been forced to retire, at the age of 27, due to a heart condition, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.
O'Brien, who began his senior career at Derby County having started out with Cherry Orchard, had become a key figure for League Two side Newport County since his move there in 2017 and was club captain last term.
But his club confirmed today that O'Brien had to hang up his boots due to a heart condition. His condition was diagnosed when he was 17, just months after his first-team debut for Derby, though he recovered from heart surgery, and a number of subsequent injuries, to star for Welsh side Newport, including their recent FA Cup runs.
"I am gutted to say that the time has come for me to retire as I found out over the weekend that it's time for my final heart operation," O'Brien said in a statement.
"I am thankful for the people I have played with and had the chance to meet over my career and loved every minute of it. Onto a new part of my life and get myself past this operation to recover properly and move on from there."