Paul calls time on Armagh

April 24, 2012

Armagh goalkeeper, Paul Hearty, after 12 years service to the County has called time on his inter-county career. The soon to be 34 year old former Kick Fada champion understudy to Benny Tierney when Armagh won the All-Ireland in 2002 confirmed “After twelve great years, I have decided to retire from intercounty football. It’s a hard decision but I feel the correct one.” This decision by Paul severs the last remaining playing link to the triumphant Armagh squad of 2002.

The Crossmaglen Rangers netminder who last month collected his sixth All-Ireland senior club championship medal to take his tally of club championship medals to 30 was an immense presence between the posts for Armagh. Blessed with a trademark huge kick-out Paul will go down as one of the best ever custodians never to receive rightful and deserved recognition from the All-Stars although nominated for an all-star in 2005. In 2006 Paul was selected on the Irish News Ulster Allstars and has 6 Ulster championship medals and a National League medal.

Philip McEvoy has been in goal for Armagh during the league due to Paul’s club commitments. An injury to Niall Geoghegan  leaves the Dromintee custodian in pole position to claim the No.1 shirt for the Ulster SFC opener against Tyrone on June 10th.

Paul, who needs a possible knee operation, is probably calling time a little early on his County duties to be able to fulfil his club duties into his seventeenth year. Having missed out on playing in the first All-Ireland club final in 1996 due to injury, Paul has been ever present since then for Cross and will want to be part of the quest for the magical “Three in a row” in terms of All-Ireland club titles.

Armagh’s loss is certainly Crossmaglen Rangers gain as Paul still has a few more years left in him yet to become the most decorated player in the club’s history, an accolade he currently shares with Oisin McConville.