Ger Cafferkey calls it a day

The announcement yesterday evening by Ger Cafferkey calling time on his inter-county career didn’t come as a surprise. It does, though, mark another loosening of the ties between the current playing panel and the group, Ger included, who represented the county with such distinction throughout this decade.

Full-back on the Minor team that made it all the way to the All-Ireland final in 2005, Ger wore the no.3 jersey the following year on the U21 team that captured the All-Ireland title. That famed Class of ’06 would go on to become the backbone of the Senior team that, in James Horan’s words, made Mayo consistently competitive at national level for several years.

The Ballina Stephenites player continued to see Championship action at U21 level in 2007 and again in 2008 – winning two further Connacht medals in the process – before breaking through at Senior level in 2009. It was on his home ground at James Stephens Park that Ger first lined out for the county – at full-back, where he was stationed, often with precious little in the way of back-up, throughout his time at inter-county level – in a National League match against Derry.

In May 2009 – along with Kevin McLoughlin, Donal Vaughan and Aidan O’Shea – Ger made his Championship debut for Mayo over at Gaelic Park against New York. In total, he would go on to make 104 appearances for the county at Senior level. He would surely have added significantly to this total but for the bad run of injuries he sustained down the years.

The worst of these saw him sidelined for fifteen months when he tore his hamstring badly against Roscommon in March 2016. It wasn’t until we faced Sligo in the first round of the Connacht Championship the following May before he was back in the starting fifteen for us again.

Always a cultured full-back, a man who eschewed the more underhand tactics that many players donning the no.3 jersey tend to deploy, Ger enjoyed his best years at inter-county level during James Horan’s first stint in charge. It was then – in 2012 – that he won an All-Star and he was nominated for one again the following year.

A winner of six Connacht Championship medals in a career that saw him start in the 2012 and 2013 All-Ireland finals as well as appearing off the bench in the 2017 decider, Ger last lined out for the county in the Championship against Kildare on that fateful evening in Newbridge in June 2018.

A storming performance in this year’s League campaign against Cavan – which saw him pick up the MOTM award here on the blog – was followed by an appearance against Dublin at Croke Park, where, once again, he was forced to withdraw with an injury. That would prove to be his final ever appearance for the county.

Still only 32, it’s safe to assume that Ger has a good while to go yet at club level before hanging up his boots. Indeed, with the Stephenites once more on the up, his medal haul might not yet be completed either. But Ger’s time at inter-county level is over and he deserves our thanks and praise for all he contributed to the cause during the years in which he was involved. Thanks for everything Ger and best wishes for the future.

22 thoughts on “Ger Cafferkey calls it a day

  1. Always admired Ger and felt he didn’t often get the credit he deserved. He was a gentleman footballer if there is such a thing and we were proud to call him one of ours. Good health and good fortune in your retirement Ger and thank you for the memories Maigheo abú

  2. Such a pity another one of those fine men, who have given all their young lifes to Mayo football, goes off into the sunset. Was glad i saw him at his best and v Cavan in league we all saw that. Total gent to all the fans/kids after matches. I”m sure the players will miss him and Andy. The team is breaking up before our eyes (sob).

  3. Great servant to the county and had many outstanding performances.

    Brought great intelligence to his game; indeed some of his best stuff escaped the notice of viewers though not opponents who, so many times, found themselves without ball when they thought they were clean through.

    Hasn’t had great luck with injuries over the past few years which must have made it all the harder to stay ahead of a fiercely competitive panel.

  4. Best of luck to Ger Cafferkey on his retirement from inter county duty. A top class full back who did not practice the dark arts, but still managed to be a very effective number three. A credit to his club and family, all the best for the future!

  5. Saddened to hear about Ger’s retirement last night Ger In his prime before injuries took their toll was one of the most dependable full backs in the country I remember hearing great things about him as far back as 2004. Another man that deserved an All Ireland medal. Best wishes to him in the future and the commitment And effort Ger put in to be our number 3 over the years most of us will never know anything about but he went about it quietly and effectively. Ger Cafferkey can leave with his head held high.

  6. Good luck on your retirement from Inter County Ger and hope you enjoyed all your years with the Mayo team.
    Thanks for all the hard work and effort put in for us over the many years.
    Good health and long life to you and yours.

  7. Sad to hear of another great warrior retiring.
    Fantastic full back, and great work done quietly and humbly.
    Thank you Ger for representing the county so brilliantly, and wish you a happy retirement at inter county level. Good health in the years ahead too.

  8. Fantastic servant to Mayo football, I didn’t get to see the Cavan match live but from the TV you could see Ger had a powerful game. Hearing James’s comments on Ger that night were also great as well. As he’d say himself “Happy out”. I hope he continues to enjoy his club football and that he doesn’t have to deal with any more injuries going forward

  9. Ger was another gent on a team of gents. What stays with me is his sense of fairness and complete absence of any malice. Despite eschewing the dark arts he was incredibly effective at full back. Of course that position is very exposed , and in one on one football the forward has the advantage. Despite his very substantial achievements I don’t think we got to see how good he really could be because of the absence of a sweeper system for most of his tenure. Interesting comments around the place about his insights on defending. I hope he stays around the coaching scene too. This is our greatest generation and I hope all the retirees stay involved. A big toast to a quintessential gentleman and a quintessential Mayoman.

  10. Good luck and a huge “thanks” for all those brilliant memories….may u have many more great years with with Ballina…a true hero

  11. His retirement raises one of the key issues facing us for some time….is there a specialist FB in the county to replace him? Unfortunately the answer appears to be no.

  12. I was always a big fan of Caffs style of play and he had great reading of the game combined with height, speed and strength. Thanks for everything Ger.. enjoy the retirement. It will be hard to find a player as good

  13. Ger, well done on a great career representing us all as a Mayo footballer. You are a credit to your family and the GAA in the manner in which you played the game. Best wishes to you and yours – thank you for being such an exemplary footballer and person.

  14. great servant and a great guy, arms like an ‘auld octopus, getting his hand in to spoil ball and dispossess players, almost always legally, time and again. I’ll always be disappointed with the way he was left exposed in 2014 on Donaghy. I remember him going down with cramp on two occasions prior to O’Donoghue’s goal, screaming for a substitution to be made, he could barely jump! As for the replay, well lets not go there. I was delighted to see him play so well against Cavan in Castlebar in the league, made the trip down from Dublin worthwhile, he really did look back to his best, shame it didnt materialise further. Best of luck Ger, and thanks for the great memories, I hope you’ll be lifting silverware with the Stephenites sooner rather than later #FTTGOV

  15. Great player who had more than one great day in the County Jersey. I recall seeing him against Monaghan in Clones in 2017 and he was exceptional that day. I think he even got far enough forward to take a shot for a point.
    I always felt he was made a scapegoat by many for some opposition scores, though I was not convinced he was to blame in many cases.
    He’s a very decent lad to boot.

  16. thanks GER for the great service you gave to our county , just hope all your injuries are behind you and that you will have many more years playing with the stephenites giving it 100 percent as always .

  17. Exiled in Dublin, I was sat close to the Hill 16 end in 14 and didn’t get a right look at the cramping incidents but you’re right, many people who were close to him couldn’t believe that Horan didn’t take him off. Just wasn’t fair on him and was asking for trouble. Ger has the distinction of taking Bernard Brogan and the Gooch to the cleaners when they were in their pomp! For a long time he was the guy tasked with marking the oppositions best inside forward. As others said he was a great reader of the play. He had an amazing knack of getting a long arm or a leg out in front of the attacker to stop him winning possession. He never foot passed the ball – always played to his strengths :).

  18. Best of luck on your retirement Ger. A classy footballer and by all accounts a gentleman and a real club man too

  19. thats right Brendan, he was the go to guy, and funnily enough, not many people remember, but he pretty much cleaned Donaghy out in the 2011 semi, when the Gooch put on a bit of a show. The scoreline flattered Kerry that day, but we took good learnings from it. I’m hoping this years semi defeat provides a similar schooling heading into 2020 but thats a conversation for another day…

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