Barbour retires after a quarter century in red

Cookstown legend Andy Barbour has called time on his time with the first team after 25 seasons playing at the top level for the Coolnafranky club.

“It has been quite a journey, but a journey I’m privileged to have had a chance to travel,” said Barbour.

“Hockey has given me the chance to go around the world, to play against the best, to win and lose, to experience unbelievable highs and devastating lows, to blast out my national anthem, to perform and underperform.

Andy Barbour in action for Cookstown in 2017. Pic: Adrian Boehm

“Most importantly to make great friendships and the best memories.”

Barbour, now 41, won 86 international caps, scoring 12 goals between 2003 and 2008 and he won the Irish Senior Cup with the side in 2011. In addition, he helped land the Ulster league three times, five Kirk Cups and the Anderson Cup with the Tyrone club.

“There are so many people I need to thank for helping me along the way. Mum and Dad have been brilliant. I hope I’ve done you proud. Thanks for being there for everything.

“I’m lucky to have played in the same team for so long as my brother, Philip. Every team needs a Phily B. My only regret is that you were not in the squad when we won the Irish Senior Cup in 2011, but sure we won it plenty of times in our backyard in the 1980s!

“I’ve only been able to keep going this long thanks to unbelievable support from my wife, Emma. If our kids have the same enthusiasm for life as you, they will do great.

“I’d like to thank the current Cookstown team for letting an old guy continue to chase his goals the last few years. I wish you all the best for the upcoming season. I’ll always be here to help.

“I’ve been lucky to have shared a pitch with some brilliant players and some even better people. It has been some craic!

“Thanks to everyone at Cookstown Hockey Club for all the support over the years. There has been plenty of highs and lows, some great days and some great nights. Thanks for making me feel more special than I actually that I was.

“And to our opposition players and supporters, we might not always have seen eye to eye but sure we were only trying to do the best for our team. No hard feelings and hopefully we’ll keep at it to see our great game getting stronger and better. Hopefully, I’ll catch you all near a pitch soon.”

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