'An all-time great' - Sports Minister leads tributes to retiring footballer Emma Byrne

The veteran goalkeeper is Ireland's most capped women's player

'An all-time great' - Sports Minister leads tributes to retiring footballer Emma Byrne

Ireland goalkeeper Emma Byrne. ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Minister for Sport Shane Ross has led tributes to Emma Byrne on her retirement from international football.

Ireland's most capped women's player has spent more than 20 years on the national team.

The goalkeeper also played for Arsenal Ladies for 16 years, and more recently has played with Brighton & Hove Albion women's team.

In a statement, Emma said she has had "an amazing journey".

She wrote: "It has been my honour to represent and captain our amazing country. 23 years wearing the Irish shirt has brought so many happy memories and many invaluable friendships that I will treasure for the rest of my life."

The FAI tweeted a video marking the senior team captain's retirement, while the organisation's John Delaney praised Emma's "tremendous service".

In a statement, Sport Minister Shane Ross said: “Emma has captained Ireland, and represented this country outstandingly well over the last 2 decades on the international scene.

"She is a true inspiration for the next generation and I know her team mates in the Ireland camp will miss her, but she leaves an outstanding legacy for them to build on. She will go down as one of the all-time great Irish players. We all wish her the best in her retirement from playing and every success as she begins the next chapter.”