Coleraine defender Ryan McIlmoyle has had to call time on his senior footballing career due to a long standing hip injury.
Confirming the news on the official club website on Monday manager Oran Kearney said McIlmoyle would be a great loss to the club both on and off the pitch.
“It’s a major blow and a great disappointment for us,” said Kearney.
“Ryan has been a terrific player for Coleriane and is also a great lad to have around the place.
“Unfortunately his last year has been blighted with injury. He has a problem with his hips which isn’t clearing up and so he feels he can no longer play or train to play at this level.
“We have tried to manage it as best we can by easing him off training and playing him in a number of reserves games to try and see if it would help him, but unfortunately it wasn’t making any real difference to Ryan.
“He is very disappointed to have to make this decision, as we all are, we all were willing things to clear up for him so he could get back playing, but it just hasn’t happened.”
Kearney praised McIlmoyle, who is expected to play for Limavady side Newtowne in the new year, for the impact he made after switching to left back.
“Ryan was one of my first signings when I arrived at the club,” said Kearney.
“We all remember the season he switched to left back, he was immense for us and rightly won the Players’ Player of the Year award and Player of the Year honours.
“He was a great player for us, and for all the other clubs he played with during his time in the Irish League.
“But not only will we lose his unquestionable attributes on the pitch, we will lose what he had to offer off the pitch also.
“He’s a great guy, totally unassuming, and he got on really well with everyone at the club. He gave his all for the team and was the type of player you want to have around you.
“I have to commend him for the way he has handled the situation and as a club we would like to thank him for his service to the club and wish him well for the future.”
Kearney confirmed McIlmoyle will be the club’s special guest at the forthcoming corporate lunch before the home game against Warrenpoint Town on December 20th.