Martin Clarke calls time on playing career at age 29

Martin Clarke has not played for Down since 2011
Martin Clarke has not played for Down since 2011

Former Down player Martin Clarke has revealed that he has quit playing gaelic football at the age of 29.

Clarke was diagnosed with the very rare Addison's disease three years ago, a condition which affects only one in every 100,000 people.

The Irish News reports that the ex-Mourne county star has been advised by medical experts to stop playing competitive football at all levels.

Clarke was part of the Down panel which reached the 2010 All-Ireland final.

At the time of his diagnosis, the An Riocht clubman was turning out for top Australian Rules Football team Collingwood, having returned for a second spell in 2011 following a hugely successful stint from 2007 to 2009.

He came home in November 2014, just months after being informed of the diagnosis of Addison's, but did not play for Down again.

Clarke ended up playing for Queen's against Down during January's McKenna Cup, before eventually signalling the end of his playing days.

His last game was Queen's University's heavy Sigerson Cup defeat to Dublin City (DCU).

"I made the decision because of the stress it's putting me under," Clarke told the Irish News.

"The dynamic nature of gaelic football, where you're running, jumping, I was putting my body under a lot of stress.

"I just felt completely zapped from the start of the game to the finish. When I got home it was taking me longer and longer to recover.

"I went and got a bit of advice from the consultant and he recommended I stop competitive sport."