Former Munster hooker Denis Fogarty has become the latest player to have to retire from the game through injury.
The 32-year-old, a Heineken Cup winner with Munster in 2006, has been told to retire after suffering a recurrence of a shoulder injury.
Fogarty, young brother of Leinster scrum coach John, who was also forced to retire through injury, has been playing in France for the past four seasons.
But he has seen little action this season after moving from Agen to Aix-en-Provence and has now been told to retire immediately as he may have to have a prosthetic shoulder inserted.
“I’ve had two operations in the last year. It came at me initially in 2007 and I had an operation then and everything was fine and played on and continued with my career.
“The last season in Agen, in March last year, I was playing for them and a scrum collapsed and it came out again, my shoulder came out again. It burst through the repairs which were done in 2007.
“And it has just never got right since then. I have a huge amount of arthritis, all my tendons and everything are not very good in it and the surgeon said he has seen shoulders like this in 70-year-old men.
“And when he went into it recently, the surgeon said it would come at me again in about five or six years and I would end up needing a prosthetic shoulder.
“I went to him again last week in Aix-en-Provence and he told me it just wasn’t going to get better. I can’t lift my arm very high and, say, if I’m swimming I can’t do a front crawl or a back crawl. I can’t do anything,” said Fogarty, who also won Celtic League medals in 2009 and 2011 during his 91 appearances for Munster.
The former Ireland A hooker, who moved initially to Jeremy Davidson’s Aurillac for a season before going to Agen for two campaigns, said he made every effort to recover but was then dealt the devastating news his career was over.
“The surgeon just said that from a professional rugby aspect I was finished, it was a simple as that.
“I had been doing everything to get better and while I kind of knew going into him last week that the news might not be good, it still hit me hard knowing that the journey is over. I’m just trying to get on with that now and come to terms with it and start considering other things,” he added.
Meanwhile, Donnacha Ryan’s season with Munster appears to be at end after the Ireland lock was ruled out of the province’s final game of the campaign this weekend, at home to Scarlets.
Ryan missed last Friday’s Guinness Pro12 bonus-point victory over Edinburgh in Cork having suffered a concussion in the league defeat at Connacht a fortnight earlier. And in a medical update issued last night, Munster said the second row forward would continue to be monitored by the medical staff and would be unavailable for Saturday afternoon’s final round game at Thomond Park.
With former Wallaby lock Mark Chisholm already stood down for the rest of the season due to concussion, Munster look set to continue with player’s player of the season nominee Billy Holland and Dave Foley in the second row against the Welsh region.
Foley was yesterday reported to have shown no ill effects from an ankle injury after he successfully returned to action with a 62-minute run in the 27-19 win at Musgrave Park and the same applies to flanker Dave O’Callaghan who came back from bruising on the knee to play 74 minutes against Edinburgh.
There was some collateral damage from that game, though, and the bruising encounter produced some minor backline casualties with Francis Saili (ribs), Simon Zebo (ankle) and Rory Scannell (dead leg) all reporting problems on their return to duty yesterday.
The trio are, however, expected to take a full part in training later in the week.
Munster’s hooking options have increased further with Kevin O’Byrne having recovered from a knee injury.
O’Byrne has played just nine minutes for the first team this season, against the Dragons in December, but will return to full training, a week on from Duncan Casey becoming available again following surgery to repair a pectoral tear he suffered in November.
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