Bohemians captain Derek Pender has announced his retirement from football.
Speaking to the Bohemians website, Pender said;
“After 17 years playing in our great league, the time has come for me to announce my retirement. I never thought this day would come, it still doesn’t fell real.
“I was always a massive fan of our league. I used to bunk into Dalymount, Tolka and watch in awe of the greats like Owen Heary, Kevin Hunt, Stuart Byrne, Jason Byrne, Jim Crawford and Glen Crowe.
“Not many people have the opportunity to spend 17 years doing what they truly love to do. I have been fortunate to be able to do so yet here I am announcing my retirement as Bohs captain.
“I can’t say I will look back at my career without any regrets. Football gives you the highest of highs but also the lowest of lows. That’s why we love it.
“Tomorrow will be the last time I lead our team out in Dalymount. I’m actually dreading it because I’m going to miss it so much.
“Friday nights in Dalymount are so special to me. Our fans are the best in the world.
“I will never forget the semi-finals we had this year and last season. Those games will burn at me forever but I will always remember Turner’s Cross and the Jodi after both those games and the love we got from our fans.
“You don’t get that at any other club. I thank every one of you. It has been an honour.
“I particularly want to thank Keith. He made me captain when he arrived and gave me the best playing years of my career. I will be forever grateful to you.
“To all the staff – Trevor, Benno, Remy, Cathal, Robbie, Paul, Colly and Aaron – thank you.
“To the volunteers and staff at Bohemians – Daniel, Stephen, Chris, Lynn, Paul, Luke, Matt – and all the members, volunteers who I’ve got to know over the years, you are what make this club special. Thank you.
“To all my team-mates, I’m going to miss being the grumpy old man! Thank you for an amazing season. Against all the odds, we have qualified for Europe.
“Stay together. There is no better place to be than this great club.
“To my wife Jennifer, from U14s to now, thanks for never coming to watch me play! I love you. Thank you.