Horgan announces retirement

by Michelle Fortune , 28 March 2012

Shane Horgan has announced his retirement from professional rugby with immediate effect.

The confirmation that Horgan has decided to call time on his professional career will not come as a surprise as he has not played for Leinster since the Magners League final defeat to Munster.

Horgan damaged the patella tendon in his knee during the match and underwent an operation to repair the damage. However, the surgery did not produce the required results and he was forced to have a second operation.

He had hoped to return for Leinster in the early part of 2012 but his ongoing struggle with injury has forced him to bring his successful career to a close.

"Every professional sportsman realises that at some point their career will come to an end," Horgan said.

"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."

Horgan won his first Leinster cap against Ulster in August 1998 and went on to make 207 appearances for the province with his last coming at Thomond Park in May.

In 87 Heineken Cup appearances he scored 27 and was part of the squad that won the European competition in 2009 and 2009, while he won Celtic League medals in 2002 and 2008.

His Ireland career began against Scotland in February 2000 and he went on to earn a further 64 caps for the country, including making eight appearances at the 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups.

"It has been a tremendous honour to represent my province and my country," he went on. "When you first start playing sport that is the ultimate ambition but few people are lucky enough to realise it.

"I am just so grateful that I was given that opportunity. I am equally fortunate to have played at a time when Leinster and Ireland experienced such great success and alongside a group of players with unprecedented talent and ambition.

"I want to thank the IRFU and Leinster, my playing colleagues and friends in the game and the many people who helped to shape and influence my career at different points over the last 14 years.

"I would also like to thank Lansdowne FC and my home club of Boyne RFC for their continuous support since I started playing the game. My family has always been my principal guiding influence and support, so public acknowledgment today is but a small element of the appreciation I owe them.

"To perform at the top of any professional sport players need good coaches and Ireland has been well served during my time with the National squad.  At Leinster, to have played under Mike Ruddock, Matt Williams, Michael Cheika and, as it turned out for the last season of my career, Joe Schmidt, represents the kind of good fortune that only "lucky" players get.

"My final expression of thanks is to the supporters of both Ireland and Leinster with whom I have shared some special days that I will never forget."

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