Horgan lifts the Heineken Cup with Brian O'Driscoll. INPHO/Billy Stickland

So long, Shaggy: Horgan announces retirement from rugby

The 33-year-old Leinster winger has been forced to hang up his boots due to a persistent knee problem, the province confirmed this afternoon.

SHANE HORGAN HAS called time on his professional rugby career with immediate effect, Leinster confirmed today.

The 33-year-old winger, who has yet to play this season due to a long-term knee injury, made 207 appearances for the province including 87 in the Heineken Cup and started in the historic win over Northampton in Cardiff last year.

On the international stage, the Meath native made his debut in February 2000 and went on to amass 65 caps, featuring in two World Cups and three Triple Crown winning sides.

“Every professional sportsman realises that at some point their career will come to an end,” Horgan said in a statement released today.

I have been extremely fortunate to have played regularly for my province and with Ireland since my debut with Leinster in 1998 and while I am disappointed that injury has forced me to retire now, I know I have been very lucky to have had such a long and largely injury-free career.

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt said: As one of the longest serving players in the professional age, Shane will no doubt go down as one of the greats of Leinster and Irish rugby. He was a strong leader within the group whose contribution off the field mirrored his many feats on it.

“A born winner and resilient competitor, Shane’s retirement will no doubt leave a void in the group, but I know that his legacy of excellence and athleticism will continue to inspire future generations and we wish him all the best in the future.”

Team-mate Brian O’Driscoll tweeted:

He is perhaps most fondly remembered for his tries against England in 2006 and 2007:

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