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28 May 2022

Former Republic of Ireland defender announces retirement from football

Former Republic of Ireland defender announces retirement from football

Former Republic of Ireland defender Stephen Ward has announced his retirement from football. PIC: Sportsfile

Former Republic of Ireland defender Stephen Ward has announced his retirement from football.

The 36-year-old, who was plying his trade with English League Two side Walsall, earned 50 caps for his country, where he scored three goals and appeared at two major tournaments - Euro 2012 and Euro 2016.

The left-back started his career with League of Ireland outfit Bohemians before moving to Mick McCarthy's Wolves in 2007. Ward's lengthy career included a five-year spell at Burnley and a stint at Championship side Stoke City. The Dubliner spent a season in League One with Ipswich Town before joining Walsall ahead of this season.

In a statement, which was released on Walsall's club website, Ward said:

"I have decided to retire now as I feel my body is telling me it's time to stop playing.

"I have really enjoyed my last season as a professional at Walsall and I am grateful to both Matt Taylor and Michael Flynn for how they have handled my last season.

"I want to thank all the players, staff, the Chairman and the fans for making it a very special year for me.

"Unfortunately we didn't achieve what we wanted to on the pitch but I felt after securing our status in the league last Friday, it was a perfect time to stop.

"It will let the manager and lads finish the season strong and set them up for next season which I have no doubt will be a massive success.

"I have lived every kid’s dream. It is with a heavy heart that I have come to this decision but I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life. Thanks again, Wardy."

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