Munster have been dealt a blow as promising out-half Johnny Holland has been forced to retire due to a longstanding hamstring injury, Writes Gavin Spillane.
Problems initially cropped up for the 25-year old in November 2014 when he sustained a hamstring inury playing for Munster A in the British and Irish Cup game against Nottingham.
Since then, he has failed to rehabilitate the injury and has been advised to retire on medical grounds.
Commenting on the news Johnny Holland said, “This has obviously been a very tough time for me, and ultimately it is a decision that has been taken out of my hands. It is something that I have tried very hard to overcome but unfortunately it has become impossible for me to win this battle. As much as this is beyond my control, I don't want to look back on my career with any sadness.”
“Rugby has given me so many opportunities and I have learned so much from the experience, with fantastic memories and friends for life. I am very proud to have represented my home province, especially at the end of last season, and am thankful for the support from underage rugby all the way up.
“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the medical team, strength and conditioning staff and coaches that helped me throughout my career, and special thanks must go to my family, girlfriend Chloe and close friends for their unwavering support.
“I believe this is an exciting time for Munster Rugby and while I am hugely disappointed that my time has come to an end I look forward to supporting from the stands, and to the next chapter.”
The talented playmaker only made 11 appearances for the province after making his debut against Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park in November 2013 but showed plenty of promise last season, making seven appearances, including five successive starts. He scored his first competitive try against Leinster at the Aviva. At Munster ‘A’ level Holland made 14 British and Irish Cup appearances.
A Munster Rugby academy graduate Johnny was a product of Cork club rugby, progressing through the age-grade ranks of Douglas and Sundays Well before moving on to UCC, and finally Cork Constitution.
Holland was awarded the All Ireland League Division 1A Young Player of the Year during the 2012/13 season.
Although only making headlines with his breakthrough performances last season, the UCC Commerce graduate displayed a maturity beyond his years with his self-disciplined and meticulous approach to life as a professional rugby player, both on and off the field.
Rugby fans have expressed their sympathy and disappointment at the news.
The worst part was that we never got to see the player he might have become. Sickened for Johnny #ThanksJohnny— Three Red Kings (@threeredkings) September 1, 2016
It was signposted but that's dreadful news about Munster's Johnny Holland being forced to retire.The guy has just turned 25.— Brendan O'Brien (@byBrendanOBrien) September 1, 2016
Really sad about Johnny Holland's retirement. Far, far too young. Another major blow to Rassie Erasmus.— Rúaidhrí O'Connor (@RuaidhriOC) September 1, 2016
Heartbreaking news about Johnny Holland. A player every Munster fan was seriously excited about this season.— Neil Treacy (@neil_treacy) September 1, 2016