Ireland stalwart Mikie Watt has announced his retirement from international hockey.
Watt amassed an impressive 201 caps for his country, having earned the first of those against Poland in July 2006. Watt scored 54 times for Ireland and sits sixth on the all -time goal scorers list.
Watt heaped praise on those who influenced his early hockey-playing days, saying: “It is very difficult to thank everybody as there are so many people who have helped me throughout my hockey career.
“I would like to give a special mention to Graeme Francey, David Wilson and Haydn Taylor who got me started in the sport and continued to offer guidance and support whenever I needed it.
“These individuals together with a number of guys at Instonians hockey club have had a huge impact on my development since I was a youngster and have continued to support me over the years, despite me not being able to give them full pay back by representing the club.
“For this I am very grateful.”
Watt was an ever-present member of the Green Machine that made history over the past few years, both at the Europeans and the Olympics.
“The obvious highlight of my career was lining out at the Olympics in Rio 2016. After two failed attempts where we came so close, this agony made it feel even more special to play on the biggest stage of all with a group of guys so deserving.
“Winning bronze at the Europeans in 2015 was another career highlight and seeing the team climb up the rankings over the years has been a joy.”
Head Coach Craig Fulton was quick to praise the role Watt has played for the Green Machine.
“We would like to congratulate and thank Mikie wholeheartedly on a fantastic International hockey career with the Irish Senior Men’s Team,” he said.
“The time commitment that goes into being an Irish international hockey player and managing a career in the modern era is a big ask.
“Michael played an integral part in helping the team qualify for and compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and help get Irelands ranking to its highest ever of 9th in the world.
“We wish Mikey all the best with his future endeavours.”