CORK rugby powerhouse James Coughlan is retiring from rugby at the end of this season.
The northsider has been a professional for 11 years, starting with Munster in 2006, before a move to French rugby in 2014.
The 36-year-old was capped 137 times for Munster and switched to the Top 14 three years ago, with Simon Mannix's Pau.
Coughlan confirmed his retirement at a press conference in France, and paid tribute to his family and the coaches that influenced his career, from school level to Dolphin and on to Munster and France. A career highlight was picking up the Munster Player of the Year award in 2011.
"After more than 10 years and over 200 matches with Munster Rugby & Section Paloise (Pau). I have decided to retire from professional rugby," Coughlan told the club's official website.
"I would like to thank everyone that has been involved in my career to date from the coaches at school, Dolphin, Munster to everyone at Pau.
"I had a fantastic eight years at Munster and I thank everyone involved with the province – not just the coaches but the backroom staff and everyone involved in the club, and of course the fans who still have a special place in my heart. I took great pride in winning the Munster Player of the Year in 2011. As I said when I left, to play once would have been an honour, to do it for nearly 10 years was special."
Coughlan, pictured below playing for CBC against Pres, gave huge credit to his family for his success.
"To my mam and dad I just want to say thanks for always being there for me. Starting from walking me to Old Christians on wet September mornings to Mam trying to learn French so she could chat up French men in Montpellier. I couldn't have done it without you. To all my family, brothers, sister, aunt, uncles and not forgetting nana, thanks for your unwavering support.
"A special mention must go to my wife Katri also who has supported me throughout my career through the good times and the bad times both in Ireland and also in moving our young family over to France three years ago."