Ciara Grant, the Republic of Ireland’s most capped women’s footballer, has announced her retirement from international football.
Grant, who will be 35 on May 17, was captain of the Senior Women’s Team for the past seven years. She won a record-breaking 105 caps and scored 11 goals during a 17 year period having made her debut as teenager in a 3-1 win over the Faroe Islands. Her last appearance in an Ireland jersey was the 2-0 win away to Israel in a Euro 2013 qualifier last September.
“I’ve had a great 17 years since I won my first cap against the Faroe Islands,” Grant said.
“It was a hard decision to make but now is the right time to make it as the team is starting to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers. I have made some great friends from the players I played with and I also played with and against some great players during my career.
“I loved every game I played for Ireland and especially when I was captain for the past seven years. It was a great honour to put on the green shirt, lead out the team in front of family and friends and listen to the national anthem.
“I had great experiences playing against the likes of Germany, France and the USA and while we didn’t win those games it was still great to be involved in them. It was disappointing that we never qualified for a major finals but there are good players coming through now who are better and stronger and I hope it won’t be too long before we do make the breakthrough.”
Senior Women’s Team manager Sue Ronan was a team-mate of Grant’s the day she made her debut and paid tribute to her.
“Ciara will be badly missed because she was a great player, a great captain and great role model. She was the first Irish woman to reach 100 caps which was a fantastic achievement and she will be remembered as one of the finest players ever to wear the green jersey.
"I played with her when she made her debut and I was her manager when she played her last game so I’ve followed her career every step of the way and the only disappointing thing is that she never got to play at a major finals because she certainly deserved to be on that stage.”
Grant, who currently plays for Arsenal, confirmed that she intends to keep playing for her club and is currently preparing for the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-finals next month.