GRAHAM Canty has no regrets about hanging up his football boots for good.
The 2010 All-Ireland winning Cork captain feels the time is right to retire from club football with his beloved Bantry Blues.
Even though he stepped back from inter-county football with Cork in late 2013 after a decorated career, Canty (37) soldiered on with Bantry for four more seasons and even captained the club’s premier intermediate team last year.
‘The time is right to retire for a few reasons,’ the Bantry legend told The Southern Star.
‘Life is getting busier and the body is saying one or two things as well.
‘It starts to catch up on you because I’ve been going hard every year for a long number of years.
‘Now feels it’s the right time to step back from it all.
‘I played last year, it was ferociously enjoyable, the challenge to play my best was enjoyable, to contribute on and off the pitch, but now is the right time to bow out.’
The talismanic Canty, who turns 38 this year, informed Bantry manager Arthur Coakley of his decision to retire from club football before Christmas, bringing an end to his impressive club career.
His retirement will also be felt by the Carbery divisional senior football team.
Bantry played their first game in the post-Graham Canty era last Friday night, losing to Nemo Rangers 1-18 to 0-7 in Division 3 of the county football league.
With Cork, he won an All-Ireland senior football title in 2010, three Division 1 league titles, four Munster senior football championships and three All-Stars – but one of the biggest highlights of his career was his role in Bantry’s 1998 Cork senior football championship triumph against Duhallow when he was still a Cork minor.
‘Successes and winning is always great, that goes without saying, and those aside, the highlights were being able to play with Bantry, a great club, for so many years and to share that with my brothers (Jeremy and Niel),’ Canty said.
‘I won a county in my first or second year playing senior adult.
‘I was lucky to win a couple of trophies with my brothers; they were special. I won my first senior county with my older brother Jeremy and the three of us won a couple of leagues together as well.
‘It was a massively enjoyable experience.
‘I have given a lot to football but I always maintain that I got a way more back off football than I put in.
‘I played for so long because it was so enjoyable and was so satisfying.
‘They always say find something you love and do more of it – playing football ticked that box for me.’
Canty – who works for Gas Networks Ireland, formerly known as Bord Gáis, and lives in Ovens with his family – will be remembered as one of Bantry’s greatest ever club men, up there alongside Declan Barron, Donal Hunt and Damien O’Neill.
‘I’ll miss it,’ he admits.
‘I don’t know of anything that will ever compare to playing football.
‘I don’t think anything will ever come near it for me, that feeling of playing and competing and pitting myself against someone else on the pitch.
‘It was a great challenge every year to take on and embrace, and I got great satisfaction.
‘Of course I’ll miss it.’