Irish World award winner Emma Byrne has hung up her boots after 21 years between the posts with the Republic of Ireland.
The 38-year-old started her international career as a 17- year-old in 1996 and quickly cemented her place as a regular fixture for the girls in green since then, breaking the record as the side’s most-capped player ever as she racked up 134 appearances.
The Leixlip native joined Arsenal in 2000, having playing previously with St Patrick’s Athletic and Danish side Fortuna Hjorring, and was part of a hugely successful period in the Gunners’ history.
During that time she won a plethora of titles including a UEFA Women’s Champions League winners medal in 2007, two FA Women’s Super League crowns, nine FA Women’s Premier League National Division titles, nine FA Women’s Cups, three FA Women’s Super League Cups and five FA Women’s Premier League Cups.
Announcing her decision on Twitter she said: “It has been an honour to represent and captain our amazing country. 23 years wearing the Irish jersey has brought so many happy memories and many invaluable friendships that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
“I feel extremely proud to have carried our flag around the world. To the supporters of ladies football. You have been wonderful.
“Thank you to the PFAI, SIPTU, the FAI and the Irish media for making my last battle a successful one.
“Last and not least, thank you to all my teammates throughout the years, my family and my friends for sharing a very happy journey with me. Adh mór oraibh xx.”
— emma byrne (@emmsb30) August 4, 2017
John Delaney, FAI CEO, said: “To pull on the Ireland jersey is a special thing, but to do it on 134 occasions is quite remarkable. Similar to Robbie Keane and Shay Given, who retired from international football last year, Emma has earned her right to be described as an Irish legend.
“Women’s football has made huge strides in recent years and we continue to work hard to advance the game at all levels.
“For that to happen we need players, coaches, administrators and volunteers to have the same level of commitment that Emma showed over two decades with the Women’s Senior Team, to help drive us forward.
“Emma was a fantastic goalkeeper and ambassador for the women’s game. I would like to thank Emma for her tremendous service and wish her and her family the very best for the future.”
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