Football

20-Cap Ireland International Darren O'Dea To Retire From Football

20-Cap Ireland International Darren O'Dea To Retire From Football

Darren O'Dea has announced that he will retire from football at the end of the season.

The 32-year-old won 20 caps for Ireland in a career which began with Home Farm before moving onto Celtic as a teenager.

O'Dea will hang up his boots when his current club Dundee play their final game of the Scottish Premiership season against St Mirren on May 18th.

"It's been a difficult decision as I feel I have plenty left in the tank but my passion in life is now in another part of football - coaching," O'Dea said in a statement.

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My path in coaching started 4 years ago and I've become obsessed with it. It's a career I can't wait to begin.

I look back on my career with such pride. From growing up at Home Farm in Dublin to fulfilling a dream to play and win leagues and cups at Celtic. And then the biggest honour of my career in playing for my country, Ireland.

In between I've had the honour of playing for Reading, Ipswich, Leeds, Toronto, Metalurg Donetsk, Blackpool, Mumbai and Dundee.

But what I have the most pride in is the people I got to work with. I can honestly say that's been the best part. The people. From kitmen/kitwomen, office staff, grounds men, physios, kitchen staff, I've always shared close relationships with so many people at every club. I've also worked under fantastic managers who I was probably testing for at times but I learned so much and owe so much to them all.

But the best bit has been the players. I've been so fortunate to share many different dressing rooms with fantastic characters. A lot of whom are still close friends. They made my "job" better. I can honestly say I look back on my career and think I really enjoyed it.

My career has been spent over 3 continents and 6 different countries so I want to thank my wife Melissa and daughters Lucia and Milana. Milana has just come into our lives but I've treked Melissa and Lucia around the world and without their support and love it would have been impossible.

One special person I want to mention is Tommy Burns. The man signed me at Celtic and started the whole dream off. He might have left us in body but he's never left in spirit. I thought about him every day as a player and you can guarantee he'll be on my mind every day as a coach.

Last but certainly not least I want to thank the supporters of each club I played at. Some thought I was good others maybe rubbish but I'm pretty sure every supporter that watched me would say I gave 100% every time I played. That's enough for me.

It's been a dream I've fulfilled and now I'm onto trying to live my next dream. It's been a pleasure.

Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

See Also: Mick McCarthy Names 30-Man Provisional Ireland Squad For Euro 2020 Qualifiers

PJ Browne
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