Former Munster back row James Coughlan has announced his retirement at the age of 36.
The Cork native has decided that now is the time to hang up his boots, after a career that saw him spend eight years at the Irish province before seeing out his playing days in France’s ProD2 with Pau.
Coughlan confirmed the news via a statement on Friday morning, in which he thanked everyone that has helped him in his career, as well as his family and his agent.
“After more than 10 years and over 200 matches with Munster Rugby & Section Paloise (Pau) I have decided to retire from professional rugby. I would like to thank everyone that has been involved in my career to date from the coaches at school, Dolphin, Munster to everyone at Pau.
I had a fantastic eight years at Munster and I thank everyone involved with the province – not just the coaches but the backroom staff and everyone involved in the club and of course the fans who still have a special place in my heart. I took great pride in winning the Munster Player of the Year in 2011. As I said when I left, to play once would have been an honour, to do it for nearly 10 years was special.
I also have thoroughly enjoyed my three seasons in Pau, joining them when they were in PROD2, winning promotion in my first season and leaving them as an established Top 14 side fighting for a Top 4 finish this season. Thank you to everyone involved with Section Paloise.
Simon I would never have stepped outside the box of Munster had you not offered me the opportunity and for that I will be forever grateful.
To my Mam and Dad I just want to say thanks for always being there for me. Starting from walking me to Old Christians on wet September mornings to Mam trying to learn French so she could chat up French men in Montpellier. I couldn’t have done it without you. To all my family, brothers, sister, aunt, uncles and not forgetting Nana, thanks for your unwavering support.
A special mention must go to my wife Katri also who has supported me throughout my career through the good times and the bad times both in Ireland and also in moving our young family over to France three years ago.
I would also like to say a big thank you to my agent, Niall Woods of Navy Blue, who has guided & advised me on every decision since 2011 and has been a constant influence &
support to me.
I’d just like to add finally that I didn’t exactly take the direct route to professional rugby it was a very long and winding route but I always had belief that if I stayed true to myself, commit to it with everything that I had, I would achieve my dream and do the thing I loved the most for a living. It’s been amazing and I’ll cherish it forever. The page turns and the wheel will keep turning I just hope I left the odd mark along the way”
Coughlan made his debut at Munster in a Magners League game against Cardiff Blues at the age of 25, going on to earn himself a contract that same season. He fought his way into the Munster starting team in the years that followed, and was named Munster Player of the Year in 2011.
He left Ireland to join in Pau at the end of the 2014 season, where his performances continued to earn him plaudits. Indeed, Coughlan was named player of the year in his first season at the French side.
— LNR.FR (@lnr_fr) January 18, 2016
Unfortunately, his displays never got the international recognition that many felt they deserved. He was called up to the Irish national side on a handful of occasions but was never given a cap (though he played for the Wolfhounds and Irish Sevens teams).
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