James Downey was capped by Ireland in a game against Canada in June 2013. Billy Stickland/INPHO

Irish centre James Downey announces retirement after 'rollercoaster' career

The 35-year-old Dubliner is set to embark on a new role in the financial world.

JAMES DOWNEY IS hanging up his boots at the end of the season after a 13-year professional career during which he represented seven different clubs across Ireland, England, Scotland and Italy.

Downey’s retirement was announced this afternoon by Wasps, who the Dubliner has represented since Ferbuary 2015, when he joined the English side from Glasgow Warriors.

The 35-year-old centre, who won a Leinster Schools Junior Cup medal with Belvedere College, is set to embark on a new role in the financial world, according to a statement from Wasps, who face Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership semi-finals on Saturday.

“I’ve really enjoyed every moment of being a professional player and have been lucky to have represented some great teams along the way. Being involved with a Wasps side who are now back at the top table is great to be part of. The squad is a tight group and can no doubt push on for titles in the coming years,” said Downey.

“I am one of the lucky ones who can finish on my own terms, not having it cut short like so many do. I’ve loved every minute along the way and have been fortunate to have had a few successful years too, but now I am looking forward to starting the next chapter in my life.”

Downey started his career with stints at Leinster, Connacht and Munster, before moving on to Calvisano in Italy. However, he is best remembered for his time at Northampton Saints, for whom he played 148 times.

During his five seasons at Franklin’s Gardens, Downey won the European Challenge Cup in 2009 and very nearly added a Heineken Cup (European Champions Cup) medal in 2011 when Northampton lost 33-22 to Leinster in the final.

He returned to Munster for a couple of seasons in 2012 — during which he picked up his only full Ireland cap against Canada in June 2013 — before departing for Glasgow Warriors in 2014.

“James has had an impressive 13-year career, representing some fantastic teams during his time in the top flight. He can look back with great pride on that career and on behalf of everyone at Wasps, I wish James and his family the very best for the future,” said Wasps director of rugby Dai Young.

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