independent

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Banville calls it a day

Ace attacker retires from the inter-county football scene

Brendan Furlong

P.J. Banville tackling Conor Lawlor of Carlow on what proved to be his final Leinster Senior football championship game last May
P.J. Banville tackling Conor Lawlor of Carlow on what proved to be his final Leinster Senior football championship game last May

Talented forward P.J. Banville has announced that he is retiring from inter-county football.

The Horeswood attacker has confirmed that he is hanging up the boots after 13 years spent mainly in the Wexford jersey, having become one of the longest-serving players on the current team.

It was back in 2005 when he was first introduced to inter-county football, but Banville still remembers his introduction to the inter-county scene.

'I was playing with Waterford United in 2004, and played in every round of the FAI Cup but was on the bench for the final, which was disappointing. I scored the winning goal in the quarter-final down in Turner's Cross,' he recalled.

'Pat Roe, then Wexford manager, had been on to me to play. In 2005 we (Wexford) got to the Division 1 league final, losing to Armagh but I didn't even make the squad for that game. He (Roe) told me he was holding me for the championship.

'I started against Carlow in the championship. We beat them and I scored a goal.

'Then we played Dublin, when I scored 1-2, but we lost out to a Jason Sherlock goal, losing by three points,' he added.

'That was my first championship season at 18, but it was the start of my career. I missed the National League in 2011 having gone to Australia. I came home as my mother was not well, and took up my inter-county career again.

'The only championship I missed with Wexford was in 2015 when I played with New York in the Connacht championship against Galway. I got the man of the match from that game despite narrowly losing.

'I subsequently came home and played in the 2016 league and championship in the purple and gold, having also won two championships in New York.

'I also won four county Senior football titles with Horeswood in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011, with two of the teams coached by Aidan O'Brien who later went on to manage Wexford,' Banville said.

'I was also part of the Wexford team that won the Division 3 National Football League title in 2008, while we also reached the Leinster final against Dublin having beaten Meath and Laois.

'We had subsequent victories over Down and Armagh, reaching the All-Ireland semi-final where we lost to the eventual champions, Tyrone.'

Banville played under five managers during his Wexford career, namely Pat Roe, Jason Ryan, Aidan O'Brien, David Power and Seamus McEnaney.

Perhaps the most successful period was under Jason Ryan. 'We had a very good bunch of players so it was difficult to change the squad.

'We had practically the same team right through, so it was difficult for players to break through.'

P.J. played his last championship game, having made over one hundred appearances for his county, in the qualifier defeat to Monaghan.

In his retirement statement he thanked all those close to him for their continued support throughout his career.

The statement in full is as follows: 'After a lot of thought I have decided to hang up my boots from inter-county football with Wexford. I would like to thank my wife, family, friends, club Horeswood, Wexford teammates past and present and management teams for all the support they have given me since 2005.

'I thought this day would never come but I have enjoyed every moment of it and it's been an honour to represent the county for the past thirteen years.

'It's now time to become a Wexford football supporter and I wish them all the best in the future.'

Wexford People

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