Armagh forward Steven McDonnell ends his county career

Steven McDonnell in action for Armagh last year

Armagh forward Steven McDonnell has announced his retirement from intercounty football.

McDonnell, 32, had opted out of this year's Football League but Armagh manager Paddy O'Rourke was hoping to have the Killeavy man back for the upcoming Championship.

However, McDonnell dashed those hopes with his announcement on Thursday.

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Armagh's star forward Steven McDonnell on his retirement from intercounty football.

"I have decided that the time is right for me to retire at this level and move on," McDonnell said on Twitter.

"I want to thank all the managers and players that I played alongside and made some great friendships along the way.

"I also want to thank all the supporters from Armagh that supported throughout and also supporters from all over Ireland that respected what Armagh did in this time."

McDonnell's decision, while another major blow for Armagh football after the county's weekend relegation from Division 1 of the league, is not a major surprise.

The forward has been bothered by a groin injury in recent months while his wife recently gave birth to the couple's fourth child.

In fact, McDonnell acknowledged before Christmas that he might have played his last game for the county.

McDonnell started his Armagh career in 1999 and picked up an Ulster Championship medal in his first season with the county.

A further Ulster medal followed a year later and he played a pivotal part in Armagh's All-Ireland triumph in 2002 when the Ulster Champions shocked Kerry in the decider.

In all, McDonnell went on to win seven Ulster medals with Armagh plus a National League title in 2005.

The Killeavy man also won three All Stars and made a significant impact in the International Rules arena.

So much so, that McDonnell was named Ireland captain for the 2010 series.

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