Leinster Rugby back Fergus McFadden has announced his decision to retire from professional rugby at the end of the season.
Speaking to Peter O’Reilly in today’s Sunday Times, the 184 times capped Kildare native confirmed his decision to retire whenever the 2019/20 season concludes.
McFadden made his debut for Leinster Rugby in the number 13 jersey against Cardiff Blues in September 2007, but over the course over the next 13 years, McFadden would play in numerous positions and this versatility was one of the traits that head coach Leo Cullen was keen to praise when looking back on McFadden’s career on the Leinster Rugby website.
“Fergus has been an amazing contributor to lots of great things that have taken place in Leinster and Irish rugby and he’s definitely one of the great characters that we’ve had around in the group.
“The versatility piece that Fergus has is hugely important. It can go against some players and tough calls not going their way but he would always do what’s best for the team. For example, even though typically your ten would take kicks, Fergus had no problem stepping up at crucial moments to take the pressure off someone. He had so many strings to his bow and he’s going to be a great loss to the group.”
McFadden made his Ireland debut against Italy in the 2011 Six Nations and went on to win a further 33 caps for Ireland scoring ten tries.
While acknowledging his retirement, the two-time Heineken Cup winner thanked his teammates and the fans for their support.
“They say the best time to leave a party is when you’re still having fun so the time has come for me to announce my retirement from the end of the season. It’s hard to put into words what a privilege it has been to have had such a long career playing for the team I grew up supporting and pulling on a green jersey to play for my country. It has been a dream come true.
“So, reflecting on what made this all possible, I would like to thank all the Leinster Rugby staff, Leo Cullen, the wider management team, medics, physios, strength & conditioning coaches, backroom staff and our legendary bagman Johnny O’Hagan. Leinster’s incredible success over many years has been as a result of the contributions of the entire team both on and off the field.
“To the players, there are too many for me to name individually right now but all I can say is that it has been an honour to play and work alongside such incredibly talented and professional people. The friendships and memories I have made are ones I will cherish for the rest of my life – not to mention the many laughs we had along the way!
“To the Leinster fans…I don’t think you could ask for better supporters. Your constant support and encouragement was felt throughout – not only there to celebrate the highs but also to support through the lows.
“To my wife Rebecca, my son Freddy, my parents, my friends and family, thanks for being there every step of the way.”