Two-time League of Ireland winner Karl Sheppard has announced his retirement at the age of 29 due to arthritis. 

The striker joined Shelbourne from Cork City in November 2019.

In 2018 Sheppard first revealed he was dealing with arthritis and an over-active immune system and has now decided to bring the curtain down on a career that began with Shels and time in the Everton academy before signing for Galway United in 2010.

Spells with Shamrock Rovers (twice), Reading, Accrington Stanley (loan), Cork City and finally Shels formed a successful career in which he plundered 89 goals in 365 career appearances.

The Dubliner bows out as a league champion with Rovers (2011) and City (2017) along with two FAI Cups (2016 and 2017). 

He was part of the Shels squad which suffered the shock relegation last campaign but will not return for the promotion tilt. 

Sheppard celebrates FAI Cup success in 2017

Once one of the most effective strikers in the league, he admits he is physicallly unable to meet the demands of the game given his diagnosis. 

"At 29 I should be in the prime of my sporting career, unfortunately two months after my best season, I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis," he posted on a statement today. 

"At first I didn't think this would affect me, however the past two seasons have shown my body cannot meet the demands of professional football. I have tried everything during this time to stay injury free but this was an impossible task." 

The frontman said the pandemic highlighted that "without fans football’s nothing" and insists he is looking forward to watching League of Ireland football as a fan.