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Dublin: 6°C Friday 14 May 2021
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Munster and Ireland flanker Tommy O'Donnell announces retirement

‘I feel it is the right time for me and my family to step away from rugby and this season will be my last.’

tommy-odonnell-celebrates Tommy O'Donnell celebrates after captaining Munster to victory over the Maori All Blacks in 2016. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

TOMMY O’DONNELL WILL bring his career as a professional rugby player to an end when the 2020-21 campaign concludes.

The Munster and Ireland flanker, who turns 34 next month, today announced his plans to retire from the game after 14 seasons.

O’Donnell spent his entire career with Munster, for whom he has played 186 times. He debuted in 2007 and won the province’s 2013 Player of the Year award.

“It has been the greatest honour and privilege to represent Munster Rugby for the past 14 seasons,” he said. “I feel it is the right time for me and my family to step away from rugby and this season will be my last.

“I’m proud to know that I will retire as a one-club man. I am confident and content in my decision, having chased the dream from the age of 16 through the youths, underage and academy systems to represent Munster and Ireland.

“While it is not the end just yet and I’m very much looking forward to contributing to the team in the final part of the season and new competition ahead, I felt the time was right to make my intentions to retire known.

“My family and I are looking forward to the new chapter ahead. My passion and belief in Munster Rugby will always remain unwavering. I look forward to looking on as a supporter and bringing my boys to experience the magic of a packed Thomond Park in the years to come.”

tommy-odonnell-celebrates-with-his-son-conan O'Donnell with his son Conan after Ireland's win against Italy in August 2019 Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Often unfortunate with injury setbacks, O’Donnell won 13 caps for Ireland nevertheless. The Tipperary man featured during the triumphant Six Nations campaigns of 2014 and 2015. He also won a Grand Slam at U20 level in 2007. 

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Munster head coach Johann van Graan said: “Tommy has been a brilliant player for Munster Rugby and has made a massive contribution to this club, always giving 100% in every situation.

“A fantastic man on and off the field, he is a real leader and a hugely positive influence on the group. To play at such a high level for 14 seasons is a testament to his quality, his determination and his resilience.

“A one-club man, I can only thank Tommy for everything he has done for Munster but he still has a part to play for the remainder of the season.” 

- Originally published at 14:25

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Paul Dollery

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