NEWPORT COUNTY skipper Mark O’Brien has had to call time on his playing career at the age of 27.
The Exiles say the defender needs to have heart surgery that requires him to retire.
O’Brien, who joined the club in January 2017, scored a winning goal that earned Newport a memorable escape from a drop into the Conference that year.
And the Irishman played a significant part in their FA Cup matches and their League Two Play-Off final game last term.
The ex-Republic of Ireland’s Under-19s ace has appeared in 127 games for Newport.
And the midfielder, who was given the captain’s armband at the beginning of the 2019-20 season, has netted four times for the Welsh club.
Prior to joining the League Two side O’Brien played for Derby, Luton Town, Motherwell and Southport
He made 204 appearances in total throughout his stints at the four teams from 2009 to 2016.
In a statement today Newport said it would “be doing everything it can to support Mark at this difficult time.”
The club said it was “saddened” to announce his retirement.
The Dublin-born player’s announcement comes a little over a year after a heart condition forced former team-mate defender Fraser Franks to retire.
Franks, 29, had made 34 appearances from the Exiles after joining them from Stevenage in 2018.