Brendan Harrison announces his retirement

Photo: Irish Sun/Sportsfile

It was announced a few hours ago that Brendan Harrison has retired from inter-county football. The official announcement on this from Mayo GAA is here.

A stylish defender who was an integral part of the Mayo team that came so agonisingly close to All-Ireland glory against a Dublin team at the peak of their powers in 2016 and again in 2017, Brendan Harrison made 67 Senior appearances for his county, starting 58 times.

He made his debut against Kildare at Newbridge in the National League in 2014 and made his final appearance against the same opposition, also in the League, at Páirc Seán MacDiarmada in 2022. He also played for Mayo at Minor and U21 levels, winning a Connacht Championship medal at the former level in 2010.

At Senior level Brendan won five Connacht SFC medals and he was also part of the team that won the National League in 2019. He won an All-Star in his breakout year of 2016 and was nominated again in 2017. He was and still remains Aghamore’s first and only All-Star recipient.

Brendan was blighted by injuries in recent years, a sad fact both he and Mayo manager Kevin McStay acknowledge in his retirement announcement. As Brendan admits in his statement, the impact of his injuries means he can’t train at the level he needs to, which has forced his retirement from inter-county football at just 31 years of age.

A bad knee injury picked up in a club game in 2020 saw him sidelined until the beginning of 2022. He was just getting back into the swing of things properly again when he suffered a cruciate injury against Kildare in March that year. Although he recovered in time from that crushing setback too, featuring on the match-day panel on a few occasions this year, that Kildare match last year proved to be his final appearance for the county.

It would be wrong, though, to focus too much on such negatives when considering Brendan’s career in the Mayo jersey. For supporters, the way he shot to prominence in 2016 will stand as a special memory.

That year Harry became an integral part of a backline featuring such household names as Chris Barrett, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughan and Colm Boyle. So much so that he won an All-Star that season, in large part for the excellent man-marking job he did on Dublin’s Bernard Brogan in the drawn and replayed All-Ireland finals.

It’s only now, when we look back on those years and list out the names of all the players lining out for Mayo then, that we can truly realise what a special time that was for supporters and what great memories were being created. Brendan Harrison was part of that elite cohort and his retirement breaks another bond with that era.

Aghamore are, however, fortunate that their All-Star defender will be prowling the backline for a while yet. Here’s hoping Brendan enjoys his time in the less frenetic but still highly competitive club scene.

For Mayo, it’s another good one gone. Thanks, Brendan, for all the great service you gave to the cause and best wishes for the years ahead.

20 thoughts on “Brendan Harrison announces his retirement

  1. Thanks for all the memories.You were some player for us. Enjoy your retirement from the Inter County scene.

  2. When you look back at the defenders we have lost over the last 4 years cafferky Higgins Barrett keegan Boyle Vaughan and cuniffe I think it becomes even more frustrating that we didn’t get over the line .individualy they were extraordinary players and of course Brendan Harrison seamlessly slotted in there and so unlucky with injuries.I will always feel a huge sense of disappointment for those players .they were a once in a generation group

  3. Incredible player, very unlucky with injuries..but was for a number of years the very best in the business in the full back line for Mayo. Thanks for the memories and many fantastic performances Brendan.

  4. One of the very best. A true warrior who kept coming back after a series of cruel injuries. Mayo will miss him but hopefully he’ll carry on with Aghamore for a while yet.

  5. Mile buiochas Brendan for your huge commitment to the Mayo team over the years. What a fantastic player.
    Go neiri leath i gcónai
    Mhuigeo Abu!

  6. A true gentleman… sad to see him go not many of the old guard left now we should have won sam it would truly make you believe in that bloody curse that we didn’t..!

    An amazing bunch of players who deserved the celtic cross and who are idols to the very young team we have now!

    Best of luck brendan Harrison & thanks for the memories you put that Jersey on with pride every time ! Hopefully you will get to see mayo lift Sam one day!

  7. Another great has retired, a type of corner back that Mayo have missed in the big games this past 3 years, we should be glad we have Aido and Cillian still playing.

  8. Sad to hear Brendan has called it a day. I was sure he was going to come again. A great defender and a huge loss to Mayo. Best of luck in the future.

  9. One of our best man markers ever .
    Brought the art of getting the hand in / split second ahead of his man and simple ball out of defence to an art .
    Thanks Brendan for all the memories and putting your life on hold for so long for Mayo .

  10. Thank you Brendan. Will never forget your performance in the drawn 2016 final. You will be missed.

  11. Sad to hear of another retirement from thar era. 16 & 17 were brendans peak years i think , solid and dependable . Unassuming type charachter of that band of warriors . Very much appreciated by all supporters . Wish you all the best in life and thank you for the great days

  12. Massive loss to us, at a time of transition Brendan would have been a massive presence in our back line, helping to integrate the younger players through in our defence. Of course, a bad run of injuries ensured that that could never come to fruition.

    Best of luck to him in his future endeavours.

    PS: I think Tom Cunniffe left the panel some time earlier than earlier posts suggest, seem to remember him heading out to NYC after Mitchels All-Ireland defeat to Ballyboden in 2016, if memory serves.

  13. A great player for mayo , and only for such bad luck with injuries we would have seen a lot more of him, but he knows his own body. And I’m sure we see plenty of him yet with aghamore . Thank you Brendan

  14. Excellent player for us and part of a team of great defenders. Think most got deserved All Stars other than Donie . Yet as good as they were we couldn’t get over the line. That would suggest the chances of winning any one soon are extremely slim. A new set of backs now, all good lads in their own right but you see the class defenders we had that have now retired and you factor in the departure of Oisin to Australia it just makes you realise how many great players we have lost in the last number of years.

  15. A great player for the big day’s. Very talented and pace also. Injury s played their toll on the man unfortunately. Let’s not g9 down the transition road with this team. Horan left a damn good 2021 final team behind him. Much better than the aged team he inherited. Obviously keegan a massive loss. Mullin not as much. He didn’t play the 21 semi and was poor in the final. Big year ahead for management

  16. So unlucky with injuries. Brendan gave himself every chance to make a comeback. Very understandable that getting back to the high standards he set for himself is a bridge too far.
    He will be remembered for his many fine performances…

  17. So sad to see Brendan retiring what a brilliant footballer and he served Mayo very well .I can understand that he was out of action owing to continuous injuries. Well done Brendan

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