News24

Ireland's Shane Horgan retires

2012-03-28 15:48

Dublin - Shane Horgan, a member of Ireland's so-called "golden generation", has retired with immediate effect due to a longstanding knee injury, his provincial side, Leinster, said on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old wing, who could also play in midfield, scored 21 tries in 65 Test appearances for Ireland and also won three caps for the 2005 British and Irish Lions in New Zealand during his nine years as an international player.

Horgan made his Test debut in 2000 but last represented his country against Fiji in Dublin in November 2009.

His final Leinster appearance came in their Celtic League final defeat by arch Irish rivals Munster at Thomond Park in May last year and he has now had to admit defeat in his attempt to recover from injury.

Horgan will, perhaps, be best remembered for his dramatic diving try late on that sealed a 28-24 Triple Crown -- one of three he helped Ireland win -- clinching victory over England at Twickenham in 2006 where his pace, power and 6ft 4in frame were all put to good effect.

The former Gaelic footballer, also a member of Ireland's 2003 and 2007 World Cup teams, said in a statement: "Every professional sportsman realises that at some point their career will come to an end.

"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.

"The support and expertise of the medical and fitness teams in Leinster and Ireland through the years has been first class. Their help, especially through the course of this injury, has been incredible.

"It has been a tremendous honour to represent my province and my country. 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.

"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."

Leinster chief executive Michael Dawson said: "It is a sad day whenever a player has to retire prematurely but Shane can look back on his long career with great pride.

"For many supporters, Shane will be remembered for his outstanding feats on the international stage and it is somewhat fitting that his playing career finished on a high when he was invited by club captain Leo Cullen to join himself and Gordon D'Arcy on the winners' podium to receive the Heineken (European) Cup trophy in the Millennium Stadium last year.

"That gesture summed up the high esteem in which Shane was held and continues to be held by his peers."

SAPA