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Coming N Going

22nd May 2009 By Munster Rugby

Coming N Going

Anthony Horgan capped a wonderful career last weekend with a superb try in Munster’s final match of the season against Ospreys in Thomond Park.

Anthony Horgan capped a wonderful career last weekend with a superb try in Munster’s final match of the season against Ospreys in Thomond Park.

Horgan wound up a career – that began in August 1997 with a the 29-9 win against Connacht at the Sportsground – with a try created by the brilliant off-load from Kieran Lewis who also leaves the Munster squad after two years of service.

Horgan has no intention of continuing to play rugby at club level and will now concentrate on his business interests while Lewis is also planning on life outside rugby.

Others who will depart the Munster scene who played their final game on Friday last include Federico Pucciariello who arrived at the start of the 2005 season from Bourgoin and played his first game in a Munster shirt against tomorrow’s Heineken Cup finalists Leicester Tigers in a friendly at Welford Road.

Pucciariello, like Horgan and Lewis will quit the rugby playing arena to concentrate on the Bio-Fuel business he is developing in his native Rosario (Argentina) but Frankie Sheahan who pulled on the Munster shirt for the 163rd and final time has agreed terms with French club Brive for next season with an option a second. If he takes up their offer, Sheahan could well come up against Timmy Ryan who is bound for Toulon.

Sheahan would undoubtedly have pushed Anthony Foley for the record as the most capped Munster player only for injury this year and in 05/06. He suffered a shoulder injury this season against Connacht at the Sportsground that effectively ruled him out of action until last Friday’s game and in October 2005 he sustained a potentially career ending injury against Sale Sharks in the opening Heineken Cup game at Edgeley Park.

It was a measure of the man’s resilience and commitment that he battled back from that injury and although missing out on a place in the 2006 final was in the match day 22 for the win over Toulouse two years later.

Rua Tipoki and his family left for New Zealand last Monday, his last season blighted by injury, initially sustained in the game against The All Blacks in Thomond Park and one of the most popular characters in the squad, Mike Prendergast also wound up his career with an appearance from the bench on Friday that elicited a huge round of applause.

John O’Sullivan and Mark Melbourne are two more who will bow out of the Munster squad as will hooker Mike Essex and wing Brian Carney who was due to have started the previous week against Cardiff Blues who withdrew to fly to Australia on compassionate grounds.

With eleven of the squad departing the obvious question is, who will replace them and as is their wont Munster will primarily look to within. It has been well documented that former Ireland Under 20 full-back Felix Jones is on his way south from Dublin but he is the only ‘outsider’ at this stage. Billy Holland (back-row) and Tom Gleeson (centre) will move from development to full contracts and Academy players Tommy O’Donnell (wing forward) and Timmy Ryan’s younger brother Dave (prop) will move into Development contracts.

Ciaran O’Boyle is back training having suffered injury in his try scoring appearance against the Dragons in March while Darragh Hurley is also on the mend following minor neck surgery last month and former Garryowen hooker Damian Varley after a full season in the professional set up with London Wasps returns to take up a contract with Munster.

All those, plus the players not on international/Lions duty will report back for training on June 29th.


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