Tomás O’Leary: Wearing the red and green jerseys was a real honour

Tomás O’Leary: Wearing the red and green jerseys was a real honour
Montpellier’s Tomás O'Leary before his retirment. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland

TOMÁS O’Leary is the latest of a golden age of rugby players to retire.

The 33-year-old scrum-half from Glounthaune won a Six Nations Grand Slam with Ireland and two European Cups with Munster during a professional career that began way back in 2005.

The Corkman had two spells with Munster which bookended his time with London Irish and finished off his second spell with the Reds on loan to Montpellier.

Munster's Tomás O'Leary. Picture: INPHO/Cathal Noonan
Munster's Tomás O'Leary. Picture: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

The latter part of the Glounthaune man’s career was hindered by injuries but he said yesterday that he had no regrets on leaving amateur hurling with the Rebels for a professional career in sport. However, O’Leary remains the last player to captain Cork to an All-Ireland minor hurling title. The Erin’s Own forward led the Rebels to victory over Galway in the final at Croke Park in 2001.

“I have had an incredible career, from my academy days in Munster to my last game in Montpellier, all of which have been extremely satisfying. I have realised my ambition of representing Munster and Ireland. Wearing the red and green jerseys has been a real honour,” O’Leary said.

Tomás O'Leary, Ireland, is tackled by Leigh Halfpenny, Wales, in 2010. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE
Tomás O'Leary, Ireland, is tackled by Leigh Halfpenny, Wales, in 2010. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

“Highlights that stand out are the two Heineken Cup victories with Munster and winning the Grand Slam in 2009 with Ireland. However, the most fulfilling experience is the unique bond and friendships I experienced through rugby. This camaraderie is what I will miss the most. For this, I would like to thank all of the teammates I have had the pleasure of playing with throughout my career.” 

The Cork native has also been forging a career in the jewellery world over recent years with his online watch business TOLD (Tomás O’Leary Design) and will be looking to expand his business interests now that the his playing career has come to an end.

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