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end of an era Another retirement for Mayo as Tom Parsons the latest to step away from the panel

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Tom Parsons is hanging up his Mayo boots

Tom Parsons is hanging up his Mayo boots

SPORTSFILE

Tom Parsons is hanging up his Mayo boots

TOM Parsons has become the third Mayo player in three days to announce his inter-county retirement.

Following on from Donal Vaughan and David Clarke opting to call time on their Mayo careers, Parsons has also decided to leave the inter-county stage.

In a statement released this afternoon, Parsons insisted it had been a “privilege to play for Mayo.”

“It has been a journey that has filled my life with joy, passion, some heartache, resilience and meaning.”

Parsons, who first joined the Mayo senior panel in 2008, was let go from the squad in 2011 and spent two years working in Cardiff.

He was recalled to the county squad in 2014 and finished up with three Connacht senior titles and one national league, receiving All Star nominations in 2015 and 2017.

In all, he made 36 Championship appearances and won widespread admiration for coming back from a catastrophic knee injury suffered in Mayo’s Connacht quarter-final defeat to Galway in May 2018.

Such was the extent of the damage, his knee reconstruction involved grafting ligaments from other parts of his body, as well as those of a deceased donor.

“I’ll never forget being in Galway University Hospital and the CT Scan… there was a risk that my motor nerve had gone,” he explained shortly after the injury.

“My foot had (gone) black.

“I’ll never forget actually being told by the vascular specialist that ‘you will get function of your leg’.

“But I’ll never forget what (the specialist) said. He just put the chart down and he said ‘My friend, my friend, this is a car crash injury. You will never be able to run again, this is your reality.’”

Despite this, Parsons completed an extraordinary comeback making Mayo’s 26-man panel for their crunch Super 8s clash against Donegal in August 2019.

Last September, Parsons also replaced Seamus Hickey as chairman of the Gaelic Players Association (GPA).

“To the resilient people of Mayo,” Parsons wrote in the statement in which he also thanks his family members, his club Charlestown Sarsfields, his former team mates and the wider GAA community, “I can still hear your voice ringing in my ears from the stands of McHale Park to Croker, you are what make our games special. It’s been an absolute honour to represent you.”

It is expected that there could be further Mayo retirements before the beginning of the season, with Keith Higgins and Seamus O’Shea thought to be among those currently mulling over their futures.

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