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Donegal All-Ireland winner Leo...
Football

Donegal All-Ireland winner Leo McLoone retires from inter-county football

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

18:25 28 Jan 2020

Donegal senior football manager Declan Bonner has confirmed that Leo McLoone has taken the decision to retire from playing inter-county football.

The Naomh Conaill club man informed Bonner of his decision at the end of last year, bringing to an end an 11-year career with the county's senior footballers.

McLoone made his debut under Brian McIver in 2008 and went on to win an All-Ireland medal in 2012 when Jim McGuinness' Donegal side beat Mayo in the final.

The 31-year-old, who joins the recently retired Frank McGlynn in departing the panel, also won an impressive five Ulster senior medals with the Tír Conaill Men.

"Leo [has been] a brilliant servant," Bonner told Highland Radio. "[He's been] there for over a decade and picked up a lot of titles along the way, numerous Ulster titles, an All-Ireland title.

"He was a real leader in the couple of years I had him, he's been a real leader within the group, within the squad.

"He's a real big loss, no more than Frank is, and we wish him well."

Bonner indicated that it was a decision that McLoone had taken some time to mull over before making his mind up.

"We had a number of meetings in the Autumn time and he had indicated at that stage that he was thinking that he was going to step away from the demands of inter-county," said Bonner.

"There is huge demands at this level now and, as I say, he confirmed then just over Christmas that he wouldn't be coming back.

"He had a long campaign with Naomh Conaill in the Ulster club championship and a successful campaign with Naomh Conaill.

"In terms of on the playing field for Leo in 2019, he got an Ulster title and he also got another senior club title [in] Donegal and [he was] very unfortunate in the Ulster campaign that they didn't get over the line there.

"But he's been a great player for Donegal, a real strong, powerful player that could play in numerous positions and he's going to be a loss to the group."

McLoone wasn't involved in Donegal's opening Allianz League draw with Mayo at the weekend.

Bonner and his team will be on the road this Sunday as they take on newly-promoted Meath in Navan.

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