Munster hooker Damien Varley has confirmed he is to retire from rugby with immediate effect due to a long-standing injury to his left foot.
Varley sustained the problem at a training session in July 2013.
Following ongoing rehabilitation the hooker made his one and only appearance of the campaign as a replacement against Leinster in October.
But ongoing symptoms restricted his ability to train and play further, and he required surgery later that month. In rehabbing the injury for the next three months, exhausting all possibilities, Varley met with the surgeon in January for a consultation and was advised to call time.
The 31-year-old, who had a spell at Wasps, picked up three caps for Ireland and made 121 appearances for the province, scoring twelve tries.
"It is with great sadness that I have to announce my premature retirement," said Varley.
"Like so many before me I will look back at my time in Munster with immense pride and fondness, not only for the sport, but for the people that I have played with, worked with and the friendships I have made.
"I am privileged to have represented my province and country and I am hugely thankful for all the memories, and for the support I have received throughout my career.
"Finally, I would like to thank my family, in particular my parents Jim and Mary and my brothers and sisters for their unwavering support over the years, they have been a constant source of encouragement and guidance.
"I would also like to mention Pat Chesser who opened the door for me first day when introducing me to London Wasps."
Munster head coach Anthony Foley said: "Damien's contribution to the squad was so much more than his rugby skill-set. He was a highly regarded and talented individual, and always led by example with his attitude, professionalism and work ethic on and off the field.
"We know it has been a long road for him with this injury and although we are losing a player of his calibre we recognise all that he has done for the province and we wish him every success for the future."