A lot of talk on the rugby pages of Pundit Arena over the last few months has revolved around Danny Cipriani and whether his form warranted an England recall or not. He was recalled earlier this week in what has been a big turnaround for what looked like was going to be the ‘golden boy’ of English rugby. Cipriani was in danger of becoming a forgotten man but has slowly managed to resurrect his career. ‘Forgotten Friday’ looks at a player in a similar position to Cipriani, one who failed to cement his place at the top of the game. That player is Shane Geraghty.
Geraghty burst onto the rugby scene with London Irish, making his senior club debut at the age of eighteen. He was capped by Ireland at underage level but declared for England having made the breakthrough at the top level. He excelled in both the English Premiership and the European Cup. He put in some stellar performances and it wasn’t long before he was capped by England. He looked like a player with a big future but his career never maintained the high standards he set for himself.
Jonny Wilkinson continued to be plagued by injuries and players like Toby Flood, Charlie Hodgson and Geraghty were three of the main contenders for the England fly-half position. Geraghty seemed like he could remain in situ at the top but he slowly went backwards in the pecking order. His last England cap came in 2009 and he hasn’t played at international level since. Having spent five seasons at London Irish he moved to Northampton Saints in 2009, in what could have been a move to take his career to the next level. Northampton were a team making strides and it looked like a good move for both parties.
Northampton lacked a classy player in the pivotal number ten jersey and Geraghty was looked at as the man to take the club forward. It was also a chance for Geraghty to get his international career on track. The move wasn’t a success for Geraghty at all as his career seemed to move on a downward spiral. Northampton continued to progress and came very close to winning the Heineken Cup in Geragthy’s final season at Franklins Gardens. But for Geraghty, he failed to secure the starting position at fly-half as Stephen Meyler kept his place.
Geragthy is currently at the club he started his career with, London Irish. While he is playing his part there at the moment, his career definitely hasn’t taken off the why it potentially could have. His main career highlights came against Ulster in the Heineken Cup in 2006 and his England debut in 2007. It was his performance against Ulster that really made people stand up and take notice of a fresh new talent. He gained a reputation as a fly-half who played very close to the gain line with excellent running and grubber kicking.
His England debut was also a huge success. He came on as a replacement against France at Twickenham in the 2007 Six Nations. The game was in the balance when Geraghty came on for Toby Flood. Geraghty made an exceptional line break to set up Mike Tindall for the game winning try. After that game he was looked at as a potential starting number-ten for England going forward but he has only secured another five England caps to this day.
It’s amazing to think that he is still only twenty-seven years of age. He is still playing at club level but as an international and top-class rugby player, Shane Geraghty is forgotten man to many people.
Sean Cremin, Pundit Arena.