Meath will be without captain Shane McEntee for the rest of the season as he heads to Mali on an overseas mission for the Irish Defence Forces.
Centre-back McEntee, son of manager Andy, has made over 50 appearances since making his debut in 2016 and had played all four of the county's Allianz Football League games to date.
After a league game for his club St Peter's Dunboyne at the weekend, McEntee confirmed he would absent away until September.
Best wishes to our club senior footballer and Meath senior football captain Shane McEntee who played his last game today before leaving for a peacekeeping tour of duty in Mali with the Irish Defence Forces 🇮🇪— St. Peter's Dunboyne GAA (@DunboyneGAA) March 5, 2022
All at the club wish Shane a safe trip ☘️☘️ pic.twitter.com/gA1LLpiPLQ
"Last Saturday marked my last outing on the football field for the time being," he said.
"It has been an incredible honour to captain my county over the last 12 months and while it won't be easy watching on from afar, I am extremely excited about deploying on my first overseas mission with the Irish Defence Forces.
"These two passions in my life have complimented each other brilliantly, with many of the lessons learned in one field being equally applicable to the other. I look forward to drawing on these experiences and gaining many more over the next 6 months."
Ireland has two units in the war-torn African country, one working with an EU group training Malian soldiers and another as part of a UN peacekeeping mission.