Football

Watch: Jonathan Walters' Passion For Ireland On Full Display In 2015 Interview

Watch: Jonathan Walters' Passion For Ireland On Full Display In 2015 Interview

A sad day for Irish football. Jonathan Walters has retired from football, with an achilles injury cutting his career short at the age of 35. While he may have seemed invincible at times in an Ireland jersey, Father Time finally caught up with the striker.

He was an incredible servant to Irish football over the years, winning 54 caps and scoring 14 goals during his eight years with the international team.

He made some telling contributions during massive moments, acting as a driving force as the team qualified for two consecutive European Championships. He scored in the Euro 2012 play-off win in Estonia, his first in an Irish jersey.

It was during the Euro 2016 campaign that his status as an Ireland legend was cemented. One of the most iconic moments of the campaign was Walters holding the ball up in the corner during the win over Germany, shielding it from a number of German defenders as Ireland secured a famous victory.

He would come up massive in the play-offs too. He scored twice in the second leg of the Bosnia tie, propelling the side to another major tournament. After the final whistle, you could see what it meant to him as he struggled to hold back the tears.

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Unbelievable. For all of the boys who had a long hard two years, my family up there in the box, wife and children. We had a long hard two years, but we got there, that was the plan from the start. Every single player has played a part in this...

I missed a few (penalties) in my time, but when there it's there to take I will always step up, I will always put my hand up. Thankfully it hit the back of the net...

We got a very tough group. The mix between old and young in this team, we've got some exciting players coming through. Hopefully we can put right what went wrong in the last Euro Championships. We've got there now, and the hard work starts next summer.

Walters will be fondly remembered by Ireland fans for years to come as one of the most passionate and committed players to play for the national side in a number of years.

If the current squad can match the passion he displayed, we should find our way to a third consecutive European Championship this year.

SEE ALSO: Here Is The Ireland Team We Want To See Start Against Gibraltar

Gary Connaughton

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