Former Munster Rugby coach Garrett Fitzgerald laid to rest in Cork

‘Mr Munster’ served as club’s CEO from 1999 until his retirement in June last year

The remains of  Garrett Fitzgerald are carried in a coffin draped in a Munster flag into St Joseph’s SMA Church in  Cork on Monday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

The remains of Garrett Fitzgerald are carried in a coffin draped in a Munster flag into St Joseph’s SMA Church in Cork on Monday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

A former Munster Rugby CEO and coach who was at the helm of the club during the peak glory years for the province was laid to rest on Monday.

Sporting figures in attendance at the requiem mass of Garrett Fitzgerald at the SMA Church in Wilton, Cork city included Captain of the current Munster team Peter O’Mahony and stars of the Heineken cup winning sides of both 2006 and 2008.

Among the well known faces at the mass were Donal Lenihan, Declan Kidney, Johann van Graan, BJ Botha, John Kelly, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul Wallace and Dominic Crotty.

Figures from outside the sporting worlds present at the mass included RTÉ Direct General Dee Forbes, Judge Olann Kelleher and representatives from Cork City and County Council.

Rugby players both past and present and coaches and staff provided a special guard of honour which stretched almost 500m from the church.

Poignantly, a guard of honour was also provided for “Mr Munster” by Fitzgerald’s former secondary school Christian Brothers College (CBC).

Players Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Peter O’Mahony and Keith Earls form a guard of honour outside the church for Garrett Fitzgerald. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Players Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Peter O’Mahony and Keith Earls form a guard of honour outside the church for Garrett Fitzgerald. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Fitzgerald (65) passed away at Marymount Hospital in Cork city on February 14th following an illness. He only retired as CEO in June of last year having been appointed in 1999. During his tenure Munster won two European Cup titles.

In the years before his death Mr Fitzgerald was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of Limerick, was presented with the Richard Harris Patron’s award and was honoured by the Federation of Irish Sport for his outstanding contribution to sport.

He won a Munster Senior Schools Cup with CBC in the early 1970s and later coached the school to a total of five Munster Senior Cup wins. Over a nearly twenty year career, he played for CBC, UCC and Cork Constitution. He went on to become Munster coach and CEO.

Fitzgerald is survived by his wife Aine O’Donnell, and his children Megan, Jamie and Michael as well as his four siblings Roger, Nicki, Mary and Rose. He was laid to rest at St James’ Cemetery in Chetwynd, Cork following the requiem mass.