London Irish stalwart of some fifteen years, Declan Danaher, has announced his retirement come the end of the current season.
This season Danaher has combined playing with a coaching role as forwards coach of the club's Academy. He will continue in that capacity for the remainder of this season and thereafter.
The veteran joined London Irish in 1999 and has gone on to make 275 appearances in all competitions scoring 23 tries. He is the club's longest serving player in the professional era and has witnessed first-hand the club's transformation both on and off the pitch. Along with forwards coach Glenn Delaney, Danaher was part of the 2002 Powergen Cup winning squad.
He joined the original Player Development Programme, the forerunner of today's Academy, at the age of 19 when Dick Best, the club's first Director of Rugby, was in charge.
The combination of his long service and strong Irish background, his mother is from Limerick and his father from Kerry, has given Danaher a very special status at the club.
The flanker was London Irish's Young Player of the Season in 2000/01 and 2001/02. He has represented Ireland at U19 level, Irish Exiles at U19 and U21 level, England at U21 level and England A. He has also played for the Barbarians.
London Irish Director of Rugby, Brian Smith expressed his gratitude to Declan's service to the club.
"Declan Danaher is London Irish through and through. He has always been a warrior on the field and a great ambassador for the club off the field. He is a true Irish legend and epitomises what is good about the game. Dec has already been working with our Academy players this year and will continue in that capacity going forward. There is no better person to instill into our future players about what it means to play for our club," said Smith.
"It has always been a privilege to wear the London Irish jersey through the good times and the tough times," said Danaher.
"I have played in some great teams and some great matches. It was an honour to win a trophy in 2002 and play in so many other semi-finals and finals. I am excited to embark on a new role with the club's Academy, a job I have really enjoyed over the last year. I'm looking forward to working with the talented young prospects we have coming through. Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me over the last 15 years of my journey of which there are too many to mention."