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'Most Days The Pain Was Just Getting Too Much. It Was Unbearable'

'Most Days The Pain Was Just Getting Too Much. It Was Unbearable'
By PJ Browne Updated

Due to injury, Neil Gallagher was forced into retirement last month at the age of 33.

Gallagher was a key part of Donegal's 2012 All-Ireland winning side. The Glenswilly man was also recognised with two All-Stars during his inter-county career.

Speaking this week ahead of the premiere of AIB's 'The Toughest Trade', Michael Murphy - who runs a sports shop with Gallagher in Letterkenny - said his club and inter-county teammate's retirement was not nice moment.

It's not nice, he's my best friend and he's somebody I've always aspired to in Donegal and Glenswilly. He's shown me a way for the club in terms of a player being able to play with Donegal and he's shown me the way in terms of the club being able to compete at senior club level - it was down to him and everybody will admit that in the club.

Obviously there are others in the club too but he has really, really shown the way and he'll continue to keep doing so - he's somebody we all aspire to.

Murphy watched over recent months as Gallagher attempted to rehabilitate the persistent back injury which ultimately ended his career.

Last September, October, when you were kind of considering everything - we had won the county championship and Neil had looked back on the year he had, he said he didn't really want to bow out without giving it a real rattle and getting his body into good shape to give himself a chance because he hardly played any football last year with Donegal.

In fairness to him, in the last three or four months since that, he tried everything to do the rehab as strongly as he could but the pain just wasn't subsiding in any way so as much as I was trying to coax him and coax to keep at it, to keep at it, to keep at it, I could see myself being along with him most days that the pain was just getting too much. It was unbearable. Things just weren't really that enjoyable and to really keep grinding at it wasn't going to make things any better.

The Donegal captain was thankful that some of the county's younger panel member got the opportunity to work with Gallagher over the last year-and-a-half.

Even for them 18 months (just passed), for the younger lads coming into the panel, they got very, very close to him - he has that kind of way about him in terms of personality.

Obviously as a footballer, he was very, very influential but I was just delighted for them younger lads for those 18 months to get an opportunity to be along with him and for him to get to know them too because I think that will rub off on them well for the rest of their careers.

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See Also: One Thing Surprised Michael Murphy More Than Anything Else During Time With Clermont

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