Former Ireland winger Andrew Conway has been forced into an early retirement due to a knee injury. Now 33 years old, the wide-man has decided to call it day on the field after being advised by medical professionals to count his chips after a long and successful career.
A hugely successful player, and fan favourite, Conway played 150 times for Munster, scoring 50 tries to become the Province’s third-highest try-scorer of all time. He also played 42 times for rivals Leinster towards the start of his career, as well as being capped in the green of Ireland 30 times.
“Unfortunately, I have been advised to retire from professional rugby because of a knee injury,” Conway said in a statement today.
“An incredible amount of work has been put in by the Munster and IRFU medics to get me back and I can’t thank you all enough for your commitment.
“A special mention to Damien Mordan, Keith Fox, Dr. Jamie Kearns and Dr. Ciaran Cosgrave for your care and support through the years. Thank you to Rugby Players Ireland and my agents for your guidance in the past and into the future.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have been coached by some fantastic people. Thank you all. In particular to Felix Jones for showing me the way, Andy Farrell for having such belief in me and Graham Rowntree for your support in these tough times.
“To my teammates from my first Leinster cap in 2010 all the way to my last Munster cap last month. It was an honour to go to battle with you all. I’m more grateful than words can express.
“Thank you to all those in Blackrock College, Blackrock College RFC and Leinster Rugby for giving me my first opportunities in the game.”
Conway went on to describe playing for Munster as the “best decision” he had ever made, “My love for Munster goes back to the 2006 European Cup final in Cardiff with my dad. I’ll never forget walking into the stadium to see it full of red jerseys, the cameras panning to O’Connell street in Limerick… It was always Munster.
“To play for this great club was the best decision I ever made. Thank you to all the Munster supporters that embraced me as one of your own!”
With 30 international caps under his belt and 15 tries, Conway can be proud of his achievements in green.
“Playing for Ireland was my dream come true,” continued Conway. “Singing the national anthem with my team-mates, watched on by family and friends was the proudest I’ve ever been.
“To my parents and sisters, thank you for your unconditional support over the years. Through the ups and downs I’ve always known you were there for me and it meant so much to share the journey with you all.
To my wife Liz, it’s no coincidence that my career started to take off when you moved down to Limerick. Your support and sacrifices over the years have driven me on more than you’ll ever know. Having you in the stands for game days always gave me comfort and I’ll forever cherish the last day with yourself and Hailey in Thomond Park.
“Lastly, I’ll miss the big days in red and green but not as much as the daily pursuit and shared team goal of reaching our potential.
“I’m not exactly sure what is next but I’m very excited to take all the learnings from the last 14 years into the next chapter.
Munster Head Coach Graham Rowntree gave tribute to the winger, “Andy is a hugely respected and popular member of the squad and has been a fantastic player for Munster Rugby over the last ten years.
“Along with being outstanding on the field, he is such an important part of the group off the field and a person who contributed so much to this province.
“He was a huge fans’ favourite and just an incredibly talented player who you could always rely on.
“He worked tirelessly to get back playing and I was delighted to see him score his 50th Munster try on his 150th appearance against Sharks last month.
“A brilliant professional, he has been a pleasure to work with and I know he is going to go on and enjoy more success in whatever he chooses to do next.”