The 34-year-old discusses his departure
Dick Clerkin says calling time on his Monaghan career was ultimately not a tough decision.
The veteran player will not be involved in 2017 onwards after a lengthy career that yielded Ulster titles in 2013 and 2015 as the Farney County enjoyed an inter-county revival.
"I'd been thinking about it for a long time. I suppose I've been thinking about it over the last two or three years," Clerkin told Off The Ball.
"This year I was conscious that the body was starting to slow down, family commitments and all the rest of it. Other things just become a priority. Work was busy and then just the way the year finished.
"I just knew that the body wasn't what it was. It really wasn't a tough decision so I just said I need a bit of closure on it as much as anything because people are always wondering and asking. That gets a wee bit difficult and tough sort of giving half-answers so it was as much to get a bit of closure as anything."
He had always intended to go out at the top, although as he explained in his Examiner column, finding himself as an unused sub in a qualifier match against Longford was a signal of sorts.
"I always sort of said personally that I wanted to be finished before the day came that you weren't taken off the bench," he said.
"That day came and the Donegal game before it - believe it or not - was the first championship game after 54 that I had played that I didn't [play]. I'd never not played in a championship game my whole career.
"At the same time, it sort of confirmed that I don't have a real tough decision here to make in terms of my time is up. It makes it a wee bit easier. But I equally would have hated to have gone too early."