Chris Cargo has become the latest Ireland hockey player to retire from the international arena following the national team’s agonising failure to reach a second consecutive Olympic Games.
The Co Down man follows in the footsteps of fellow Ulsterman Eugene Magee, who would have quit in any event after the Tokyo showpiece had Ireland qualified.
Cargo (33) bows out just five appearances short of the 200 mark, making him the eighth most-capped Irish male player.
He represented his country in the Rio Olympics and last year’s World Cup and three European Championships, including the 2015 event in London when Ireland secured an unprecedented bronze medal finish.
Having played with Bangor and in Belgium, he is now with English Premiership side Hampstead & Westminster.
“I have loved wearing the green shirt for 10 years in countries all over the world and making history with this group,” said Cargo, who paid tribute to his international coaches.
“I would particularly like to thank Paul Revington for giving me my first opportunity to wear a green shirt. I had given up on that dream so I will always be truly grateful to him for giving me that chance and changing my life.”
“He made me, and the whole group, believe that we could make history and instilled in us a huge drive and determination.
“To ‘Ned’ (Craig Fulton), for galvanising the team after the disappointment of (missing out on the Olympics in) 2012, you pushed us on again through our ‘no excuses’ mantra and, finally, to Tum (Mark Tumilty), for coming in and making this group enjoy their hockey again.”
Meanwhile, holders Pegasus swept into the Denman Ulster Shield final after a comfortable 4-0 semi-final win over Lurgan at the Dub last night. They will meet the winners of Saturday’s semi between Belfast Harlequins and Banbridge.
Women’s Denman Ulster Shield semi-final: Pegasus 4 (L McKee, R Maguire, N McIvor, A Speers) Lurgan 0 .