Former Irish International Rory Delap has been forced to call time on his playing days.
Delap (37) has strong Donegal connections and announced his retirement this week due to ongoing injury problems. He played at the highest level in English football with Derby County, Southampton and Stoke City. He also had spells with Sunderland, Barnsley and Carlisle United with whom he began his career as a 19-year-old.
The 11-times capped Irish international has been with English League Two side Burton Albion since the summer. However, due to an ongoing hamstring injury he only made seven appearances for them and earlier this week he bowed to what was almost the inevitable and announced his retirement.
“He has had a fantastic career and we are honoured here at Burton that he has finished his career with us,” Burton boss Gary Rowett, a former team-mate at Derby County, told the club’s website.
Delap began his career at Carlisle United and went on to make more than 580 appearances for Derby, Southampton, Sunderland, Stoke, Barnsley and Burton in all competitions.
In his club career he scored 35 goals in all competitions but created numerous others with his trademark long throws.
Southampton paid £4 million for him in 2001, but it was Stoke where he had his longest spell, playing 208 games in almost six years, including the 2011 FA Cup final against Manchester City, which they lost 1-0.
“His attitude and work ethic have been a credit to himself and the invaluable knowledge and experience that he has passed on to the rest of the players here at Burton Albion has been priceless,” Rowlett added.
Rory, who was capped six times for Ireland at U-21 level, won the first of his senior caps in the March 25th, 1998, a 2-1 defeat away to the Czech Republic.
And he had his last outing in an Irish shirt six years later, on March 31st, 1998, ironically, against Czech Republic. Ireland won that game 2-1. During his Irish career he also played against Argentina, Mexico, Turkey, Greece, USA and Finland.
Rory’s father, John, is from Letterkenny and his mother Maura, is a native of Meath, and he is called after his late grandfather, Rory Delap, Letterkenny.
His uncles Paddy, Brendan and Anthony Delap, who all live in Letterkenny, were among his biggest supporters during his playing days.
He is a regular visitor to Letterkenny.