Another superb servant lost way too soon to injury
Graeme Molloy has admitted that his Wexford Senior football inter-county career is over.
Molloy's contribution with the county team over the past twelve months has been limited drastically due to knee cartilage problems, and after undergoing surgery and receiving expert medical advice he was left with no option but to pull the curtain down on his inter-county career.
Graeme was at pains to point out that he has been left with no cartilage in his knee, as it's now bone on bone.
And having tried everything, his final game in the purple and gold was the qualifier defeat to Derry, having worked his way back into the team for the provincial championship after missing out on an entire league campaign.
Given the extent of the injury, Graeme felt there was no purpose in delaying the decision any further. The last operation he had was a micro-fracture but it did not bring the required improvement to prolong his inter-county career.
The injury which has ended Graeme's inter-county involvement has a very common theme, with an ever-increasing number of players having either to retire or work their way back through twelve months of rehab to resurrect their career.
Readers will be familiar with many players who have suffered this career-threatening injury. Just a few months back Wexford's Senior hurling full-back, Tomás Waters, was also forced to call time on his inter-county career, having battled through twelve months in an effort to bring himself back to the levels he had attained prior to his cruciate knee injury. It also proved a step too far for the St. Martin's man.
All are agreed that Graeme was one of the best full-backs to emerge for Wexford in a long number of years.
He was recognised as a top-class defender outside his county, gaining recognition with Leinster, but right now Wexford will miss out on his naturally gifted defensive qualities as they head out on their league campaign against Leitrim this Sunday.
Players nowadays on the inter-county scene have a level of skill and application, but the commitment now demanded is really frightening.
This is what is now required to reach a high level though. Graeme allowed his thoughts to drift back over the past twelve months and his push through the pain barrier to make a recovery.
Having to reach a huge level of fitness, this natural athlete managed to make his way back to the Wexford side, and his stature grew even further last year when he assisted his beloved St. James' club to their first-ever Senior football championship title.
He made his Senior debut back in 2006, and even so early in his career, missed out on the 2007 and '08 campaigns owing to a Gilmore's groin operation.
But given his dedication even then, he fought his way back through the pain barrier to enjoy a glittering career.
Graeme created quite a lofty reputation. The injury burdened him, leaving him to realise that he could no longer partake in the training required to keep him at the highest level.
Once the words came out from the surgeon, Graeme quickly realised that he would be unable to prepare for games to the levels required, so rather than struggle on he felt it was only fair to the team management and his colleagues to bring the curtain down and hang up his boots at inter-county level.
Wexford football has been deprived of the best years of Graeme's career. But having looked back over the past nine seasons he has been a wonderful servant to the county despite his catalogue of injuries.
Wexford may have had more decorated players but few of the quality and commitment of the St. James' defender.
Graeme signed off with the words: 'It's not a decision I wanted to make. I would like to have been able to make the decision in my own time but circumstances dictated otherwise'.
Let's hope the young players that are following through can emulate the standards set by a player who had made the No. 3 jersey his own for so long.
It was a wonderful career brought to a premature end at the age of just 30 years.