Ireland rugby legend Ian Madigan has said goodbye to his playing days this afternoon in an emotional post to Instagram. His words are centred around the deep appreciation he has had from each and every coach, teammate, family member and friend that has helped him along the way.
The 34-year-old touched upon his time in junior rugby, through to his stints in Ireland, France, and England, as well as detailing his incredible journey with Ireland during the 2015 World Cup.
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Former teammates and competitors of Madigan’s have been quick to congratulate the talented halfback on an amazing career, including the likes of Danny Cipriani, Simon Zebo, and Sergio Parisse.
Madigan’s statement reads:
“Today I am announcing my retirement. I don’t really know where to start so best to start where it all began with Old Belvedere Mini Rugby, being coached by my Dad. All that mattered was how many tries I scored, the Monster Munch and Cadet red lemonade that would send me to the moon! My love for rugby was born, the incredible memories.
Alongside that I have to mention Kilmacud Crokes, coached by Gerry Greene, Mick Carroll, Billy Knoctor and Donal McEvoy among others they taught me to back myself. I’ve never felt freedom like the one I felt on a Gaelic football pitch.
After leaving St.Brigids a fantastic primary school, Olympian Jerry Kiernan had me well prepared for what was to come. Rugby started to get more serious when I moved school to Willow Park and Blackrock College. Tony Smeeth providing me with the perfect foundation for my career. Way ahead of his time with his theories on general movement and a purist in not allowing us to kick… that stuck with me throughout my career!!!
“Alan McGinty followed on from Tony, a true vetting process for the school! I loved that year and what you taught me. Thank you for all you have done for Blackrock College. I cherish my 5 years in the school. The highs and the lows, I wouldn’t swap any of them. I remember you driving me back to the school after missing a kick to knock us out of the Senior Cup. 15+ years on and I can still remember your consoling words and advice.
Thank you Frank Macken, for putting together my most enjoyable year of rugby. Playing alongside your best friends, pure rugby. You allowed us to play with freedom and we flourished under your guidance. Conor Crowley in full flight barking your orders, I miss Crowls. Losing him was without doubt the toughest set back I’ve had in my life. Conor, your legend lives on.
“Thank you to Leinster Rugby for allowing me to fulfil my dreams. 8 years of my career, we were blessed with success on the pitch but more importantly a special group of players and staff. We pushed eachother hard, and were incredibly tight off the field, the rounds of crazy golf, card games, BBQs, there was never a dull moment. I naively thought every club would be like you.
“Thank you to Pat Lam and Bristol Rugby for the opportunity to represent the great city of Bristol. It was an amazing journey going from the Championship to the Premiership and on to winning the Challenge Cup. It was great to be a part of the rebrand of Bristol Bears and see so many players flourish under your guidance. Anna and I hold so fondly the memories we have from playing and living in Bristol.
Thank you to Rory Murray, Daniel Cleal and Mike Carswell for giving me the tools to figure out how to get the most out of my body and keeping me fit.
“Thank you Dan McFarland for bringing me to Ulster. The final three years of my career were so enjoyable. I would love to have plaved more but that’s professional sport. The relationships I’ve made with the plavers and staff in this great club are ones for a lifetime. I am proud to call myself an Ulster man and look forward to living in Belfast for the foreseeable.
Thank vou to the medical staff for rehabbing me back from my knee injury season in-particular, Dr.Michael Webb, Dr.Ray Moran, Chris McNichol, David Minion and Ali McFarland.
“Without doubt the highlight of my career was representing our great island of Ireland, in particular at the World Cup in 2015. Those are memories that I will cherish forever. Thank you Joe Schmidt for backing me and teaching me how this great game can be played. You are a fantastic coach but what I will always remember is how you treated me as a young man, challenging me to be the best that I could be and always filling me with confidence.
Your record in Leinster and Ireland speaks for itself.
“It is emotional writing this as so many memories come flooding back. I look back on my career with no regrets, to have played over 300 professional games in the top leagues in Europe and to be able to represent Ireland – I have lived the dream. Thank you to my amazing family, David, Louise you are everything I could ask for from my siblings. Dave playing with you in Blackrock will always be one of my proudest moments. Lou you are one of a kind, so thoughtful and caring, thank you for being yourself. Mum and Dad, thank you for travelling all over the world to support me, I think everyone saw in 2015 what it meant to have you in the stadium cheering me on. The Brassill’s, Dawson’s, Coulter-is and Lynches we are blessed with the extended family we have, thank you for the love and support.
“My friends outside of the game, there are too many to mention individually but you know who you are. Thank you for always keeping me grounded, picking me up from the set backs and joining me to celebrate the wins.
While I have had to retire through injury this isn’t a sad story, it’s one of amazing memories. As I move onto the next chapter, thank you Michael Storan, Ryan McErLane and Sue Crowley for providing me with a smooth transition out of the game into the ‘real world’ with Dataships.
Thank you to my managers David McHugh and Ryan Constable both of you know you are both far more than that to me and I look forward to continuing our friendship.
Thank you to all the amazing people who make playing our great game possible. Referees, stewards, media personnel and most importantly the supporters in each of the clubs I played for and the teams I played against,
“special mention to my Grandad Larry, my number one supporter. I have been so lucky to have had vou in my corner every day of my life and career. I could have done with vou on some of the selection committees!! The advice on my general play, trying to rein in my haircuts, suggesting that I should practice more kicking, advice on dealing with the media, you covered it all. Your support always provided me with a lift, your pre match confidence boosters are legendary. The story of you arriving to Lansdowne Road before the stadium had opened for my first cap because you wanted to see me warm up sums up how amazing you are.
“Finally, to my wife Anna, I am so excited for this next chapter as we look to build our own home and grow our family alongside Benji and Freddie. It is challenging being a partner of a rugby player. The schedule, injuries, the selection set-backs, missed kicks, being away, moving countries, the list goes on. Thank you for being so loving and supportive, the highs and lows, we’ve always done it together. 4 countries in 10 years the journey continues!
Thank you also to your loving Kirwan family, Nicholas, Joan, Campbell, Baylee Hollie, Dave, Chloe, Philip and especially your Mum Claire who is just the most amazing person.
I’m so excited to repay the love and support you have shown me in our next chapter.
Yours in Rugby lan Madigan”