DENIS LEAMY’S PLAYING days are over.
The veteran back-row today became the third Munster player who has been forced to retire this season due to injury, following packmates Jerry Flannery and David Wallace in prematurely calling time on his career.
Leamy, 30, has struggled with a hip injury since returning from the World Cup in New Zealand last autumn and made just three appearances in the RaboDirect Pro12 and four in the Heineken Cup this season.
He made his Munster debut in September 2001 and went on to make 144 appearances for the province, including two that he will never forget as part of the Heineken Cup-winning teams of 2006 and 2008.
At international level he won 57 Irish caps including appearances at two World Cups, two Triple Crowns and a Grand Slam in 2009.
Announcing the news in a short statement this morning, the Tipperary native said that his only regret at the end of a dream career was that it didn’t last a little bit longer.
“I find it hard to put into words how much it has meant to me to play for Munster and Ireland,” Leamy said.
It was a dream come true and I was very lucky to play with some of the greatest players ever to wear the jerseys and feel blessed that I was part of winning teams. I’ve had a great career, wish it had gone on a little longer but I’d like to thank all the coaches, players, medical staff and management who have helped me over the past decade. It’s been a great honour to be involved with such an outstanding group of people.
He also paid tribute to the diehard Munster and Ireland fans who have supported him throughout his playing days.
“I’d also like to thank the fans most sincerely. I fully appreciate the sacrifices they’ve made, spending their hard earned cash to cheer us on, be it Munster or Ireland, at home games and all over Europe. Their support has been truly fantastic and a memory I’ll carry forever.”