After 327 appearances and 15 years, John Muldoon brought the curtain down on a spectacular career this afternoon, writes Michelle McGlynn.
Bowing out in style with a definitive defeat over Leinster, it was an emotional afternoon for Muldoon, Connacht and rugby fans around the country.
He can head off to join Pat Lam in Bristol next season knowing that he leaves behind a great legacy.
Speaking before today's match, Muldoon said that he was grateful to have been able to play for as long as he has and to be able to retire on his own terms, something not all athletes are afforded.
“It’s crept up on me in a way, even though I have known this day is coming for a long time. I can have no complaints, I got a great stretch out of it but of course I’ll miss it. How could it be any other way?" he said.
"The lads have been slagging me, telling me this is my last gym session or last recovery or meeting or whatever. But I suppose I have seen plenty of other lads head off into the sunset and it’s my turn now."
Fans have been paying tribute to the Connacht legend on Twitter with #ThanksMul trending all day.
Here are just some of the special tributes to Mul on his last day at the Sportsground.
After 15 years and 326 appearances, John Muldoon will lead the team out for the very last time…
John, this is what you mean to the people of Connacht.#ThanksMulApril 27, 2018
Lovely tribute to @JohnMuldoon8 from the young @ConnachtClan fans outside the @connachtrugby dressing room today. #CONvLEI #ThanksMul pic.twitter.com/gZPGJH1wFQ— James Lynch (@LynchieSoup) April 28, 2018
Congrats again on a great playing career @JohnMuldoon8! A cheeky conversion to see it off too! @connachtrugby see of Leinster in style! FT score 47-10 #ThanksMul #CONvLEI #GUINNESSPRO14 pic.twitter.com/5K0VhOR84l— Inpho Photography (@Inphosports) April 28, 2018
A disappointing afternoon in the office, full time and it’s @connachtrugby 47 @leinsterrugby 10. Congratulations to @JohnMuldoon8 on a very long career! #CONvLEI #ThanksMul pic.twitter.com/ilU2s6OChy— Leinster Supporters (@OLSCRugby) April 28, 2018
👟 What a moment this is for @JohnMuldoon8 👟April 28, 2018
The reason there is so much Connacht rugby merchandise worn by folks all across the West is because of men like @JohnMuldoon8 and all he has done for @connachtrugby. Captain, Leader, Legend. #ThanksMul— Mark Gordon (@thegord001) April 28, 2018
No one man has contributed more to the @connachtrugby cause than @JohnMuldoon8 raising the standards day after day, year on year...Now that's a legacy to leave behind 👏 #ThanksMul— Michael Swift (@mswift4) April 28, 2018
I first drew @JohnMuldoon8 for @connachtrugby back in 2011. In the years that have passed there have been glorious highs & heartbreaking lows. John has battled through it all. I couldn't think of a better time to update this image in honour of his last match. #ThanksMul pic.twitter.com/rPeRFRaQvL— Morgan HOHOHO’Brien 🎅🏻 (@morganobrienart) April 27, 2018
This is why we love @JohnMuldoon8 and @connachtrugby so much. The game hasn’t even started and there is tears in my eyes. #ThanksMul pic.twitter.com/PdAqz3TudM— Paul Brennan (@paulieb2006) April 28, 2018
Today @JohnMuldoon8 will lead out @connachtrugby for the very last time against @leinsterrugby Saturday 28th May 2016 was a special day for the airport & Connacht as we welcomed home the PRO12 Champions, led by the great John Muldoon. From all @Irelandwest #ThanksMul pic.twitter.com/jDxj5Kb0Bv— Ireland West Airport (@Irelandwest) April 28, 2018