Danaher forced to call it a day

 

HAVING been informed by his doctor that it would be inadvisable for him to play again, former Ireland captain Philip Danaher of Garryowen has decided to accept the medical advice and, consequently, his very distinguished playing career has come to an end.

Danaher (30) broke his right thumb in a league match against Old Wesley last October, and subsequently broke it again in a comeback match playing against Galwegians. Danaher had a frustrating season but helped coach row after a pin was inserted in the thumb.

His hopes that he would be fit to resume his playing career in September have now been dashed. "I have been told that it would be too great a risk to play again and that permanent damage could result. I am very disappointed as I had been looking forward to playing next season, but I "have to be realistic," said Danaher yesterday.

"The injury was proved much more troublesome and serious than I thought initially. The pin is still in the thumb, but I expect that it will be removed in the near future. I will be 31 in October and had hoped to play for another few years, but unfortunately that is not now possible. But I have been very fortunate and thoroughly enjoyed playing."

An outstanding schools player, he won a Munster Senior Cup medal with St Munchin's and played for Ireland Schools at outside half. He went on to play for Ireland at under 25 level and won the first of 28 senior caps against Scotland in 1988 at full back.

At that time a member of Lansdowne, he won a three Leinster Senior League and a Senior Cup medal before returning to his native Limerick and Garryowen. An extremely versatile player, he moved from full back to centre during Ireland's tour to Canada and the United States in 1988. His subsequent caps were attained in the centre but he also played for Ireland on the wing when he came on as a replacement against New Zealand in 1989.

Extremely popular with his peers, no more personable man graced the rugby scene. His qualities of leadership were recognised when he was named Ireland captain for the match against France in 1992 and then led the side on the tour to New Zealand in 1992.

That tour also brought his biggest disappointment. Losing the first Test to New Zealand was the most disappointing aspect of my career. We should have won the match and led 12-0 at one stage but eventually lost it 21-24." He was injured in that match and did not play in the second Test. But he led Ireland against Australia later that year in Dublin.

He is in fact the only Garryowen man to have led his country and a memory I will always cherish was when we beat England 17-3 in 1993.

He was an outstanding captain of Garryowen and led the side to success in the All Ireland League in 1992. He helped the club to win the league again in 1994 and won two Munster Senior Cup medals with Garryowen. Unavailable for the World Cuptain 1995 because of business commitments, he subsequently travelled to South Africa as a replacement during the tournament.

He was also an accomplished Gaelic footballer and played for Limerick against Kerry in the final of the Munster Senior Championship in 1991. He intends to continue to help Garryowen in a coaching capacity, but his considerable presence on the field will be greatly missed.