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Three former Irish rugby players have initiated legal actions against the IRFU

It is believed the cases are related to concussion injuries the players suffered during their rugby careers.

David Corkery suffered concussions in his career.
David Corkery suffered concussions in his career.
Image: Patrick Bolger/INPHO

THREE FORMER IRELAND rugby players, including David Corkery, the 27-times capped former international who was Ireland’s player of the tournament in the 1995 World Cup, have initiated legal proceedings against the IRFU and World Rugby.

Corkery, a former flanker who played for Ireland, Munster and Bristol, has taken a case against Munster Rugby, the IRFU and World Rugby.

The other two players who have taken a case are Ben Marshall, a 32-year-old former flanker and lock, whose professional career ran for seven years up until 2017 with Leinster and Connacht, and ex-international Declan Fitzpatrick.

The story was first reported on Thursday morning by Dion Fanning in The Currency.

Marshall has initiated legal proceedings against Leinster, Connacht, the IRFU and World Rugby.

ben-marshall Ben Marshall in action for Connacht. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Additionally, Fitzpatrick, a prop who played seven times for Ireland and 98 times for Ulster before retiring in 2015, has taken a case against Ulster, the IRFU and World Rugby. All three players suffered concussions in their career.

The three players are represented by Maguire McClafferty, a solicitors firm who state on their website that they are currently ‘representing a number of former professional rugby players in relation to concussion related head injuries sustained during the course of their rugby playing careers’.

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In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, the IRFU said it would be “inappropriate” for the Union to comment on the cases. 

“People in rugby have been moved by the personal accounts of former players as reported in the media,” the statement reads.

“Player welfare is of paramount importance to the IRFU and we are constantly reviewing safety protocols for all players.

“Our approach, based on scientific evidence, involves a commitment to ongoing education, monitoring and application of safety protocols across the game, including proactively managing elite player game time with a focus on injury prevention and oversight.

“As this is a legal matter it would be inappropriate to comment on these cases directly, which will now be handled by our insurers.”

The42 has contacted Maguire McClafferty for comment.

Updated at 2.10pm to include IRFU statement.

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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