12 Dec, 11:55
Munster A Head Coach Peter Malone has named a strong squad for the vital British and Irish Cup clash against Plymouth Albion at Waterford's Regional Sports Centre tomorrow night (ko 7:30pm).
He leaves at the end of the season to take up a two year contract with the French Pro Div 2 side Aurillac coached by former Ireland international Jeremy Davidson.
The 28 year old from Cashel Co Tipperary, the younger bother of Leinster Elite Player Development Officer, John, was offered terms to remain with the side he's been a member of since 2004, but opted for the offer from Davidson instead.
Educated at Rockwell College, where he gained Irish Schoolboy international honours, he came into the Munster squad shortly after appearing in the 2004 U21 World Cup Final and made his senior debut off the bench against The Borders in Musgrave Park in November 2004.
His first start came against Connacht in Thomond Park in December 2005 and he ended that season with a Heineken Cup winners medal to his credit, on the bench in the final win over Biarritz Olympique.
Sinced then he's added a second Heineken Cup winners medal, a Churchill Cup and three Magners League title medals and played his 90th senior game for Munster against Aironi in Parma last month.
An infectious humour was one reason for his huge popularity within the Munster squad, a popularity that was in equal proportion to the respect he commanded from both the senior players and the new generation. Donncha O'Callaghan was wing forward when Fogarty made his first start and is adamant that his departure will be keenly felt. "He's Munster to the core. An incredible character who brings so much to the squad both on and off the field. He'll be sorely missed, maybe much more than some people might imagine right now. But he goes with the best wish of everyone in the squad."
Fogarty himself admits the decision to leave wasn't an easy one. "You dont leave a squad like Munster without giving it a great deal of thought. Its been a huge part of my life and I've really enjoyed my time here. I've learnt a lot and made lifelong friends who I will miss.
The opportunity was there for me to remain but I feel the time is right for me to look for a new challenge. I'm grateful to Jeremy Davidson for providing me with that challenge and its one I'm looking forward to.