JJ Hanrahan to quit Munster for Northampton Saints

Former young player of the year turns down Thomond deal and will leave at the end of the season

JJ Hanrahan will play his rugby with the Northampton Saints next season, confirming a story broken by Irish Times rugby correspondent Gerry Thornley in December.

The Kerry born outhalf will leave Munster at the end of the season, despite being offered a three-year contract extension by the Irish province. The uncertainty about Hanrahan's future has been well documented over the past few weeks and the player himself confirmed his departure to team management yesterday.

Hanrahan has made 51 appearances for the province, scoring 229 points, and at 22 years of age has been a rising star since first making his league debut against Newport Gwent Dragons in September, 2012 in Thomond Park.

A former Castleisland RFC, Rockwell College and UL Bohemians man he moved to the senior squad at the start of the 2012/13 season after completing two years of the academy programme. In June 2012 he played an impressive role at outhalf for the Ireland Under-20 side that finished fifth in the Junior World Championship in South Africa and was one of three players nominated for the IRB Junior Player of the Year.


Hanrahan admitted: “I have thought long and hard about this decision, and as difficult as it is to leave I believe it is the right step to take for my future progression. Growing up, Munster was all I knew and I will certainly miss it. I am very fortunate to have represented this club and team but I need to do what is best for me and avail of the next opportunity.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and want to thank everyone for their support and best wishes all along. I will continue to represent the jersey to the best of my ability for the remainder of the season.”

Saints' director of Rugby Jim Mallinder enthused: "JJ is a tremendous prospect. He has consistently shown that he has the ability to compete at the highest level of club rugby. But while we are looking forward to having JJ join us in the summer we are particularly excited about seeing him develop over the coming years at Franklin's Gardens."

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer